Indian shuttlers raring to go at All England Championship

Top Indian shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth, H. S. Prannoy, B. Sai Praneeth are geared up for the All England Championship starting next week.

Expectations will be high on Kidambi Srikanth (C) and Saina Nehwal at the All England Championship.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam

 

The Indian men’s shuttlers are not looking only at the prestigious All England championship starting next week, but far beyond in what they consider “a very demanding and challenging calendar”.

“Yes, winning the All England (he will be making his fourth appearance) has its own aura. Once you do that you will join the big names in the history of the sport. But, it is not the only event I am looking at. The kind of schedule we have, it is imperative to keep improving with each tournament,” said K. Srikanth.

“I believe in learning from my mistakes and staying positive. What has happened is in the past and what you are up against now is more important,” said Srikanth, who won four Super Series titles last year.

Reputations don’t matter

“I don’t want to invite pressure by thinking of being the highest-ranked Indian shuttler. It is a highly competitive sport where reputations don’t matter,” said Srikanth.

The World No. 3 said that it was a fact that the Chinese domination was fading, if not over. “But, importantly, we need to keep improving at the highest level and the bench strength should be ready to take charge whenever it gets the chance,” he added.

Srikanth said there was no point in topping the world rankings and not winning, say, an Olympic medal. “If you remember, I would have had a go at the World No. 1 ranking last year, but skipped two majors (China and Hong Kong Opens) to stay in the right frame of mind because of this year’s schedule,” he said.

“I have to play to my full potential to produce the kind of results that are expected from me. I always feel the early rounds of any event are the most testing,” said Srikanth.

Mentally fresh

Meanwhile, World No. 12. H. S. Prannoy confessed that he was not 100% fit for a major event like the All England. “I hardly had two weeks of training because of a corn in my foot. But, I am mentally fresh and that should help me in regaining my form,” he said.

World No. 14 B. Sai Praneeth, who Gopichand believes to be an artist with the need to be more consistent for the kind of game he has, acknowledged that he had a tough draw, facing Korean World No. 4 Shon Wan Ho (whom he has not beaten till now) in the first round.

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