A stiff back has forced Kidambi Srikanth to take a break from his training. Ever since returning home after being knocked out of the Japan Open, the Indian shuttler has taken things easy, keeping in mind the fact that the next year is going to be extremely busy.
"The qualification process (for the Paris Olympics) will start after seven months. Presently, I’m just looking at sorting things out, being injury-free, fit," Srikanth said here on Thursday.
He was in the city to attend a seminar organised by the GoSports Foundation under its Rahul Dravid Athlete Mentorship Programme.
"For the next seven months, I’m just looking to figure out other things like fitness. So, those 12 months will be as important as the Olympics, because for us, it’s not about a single competition, but maintaining the ranking. If I play fewer tournaments, it’s about playing well in those events," the shuttler said.
With the National Games set to be held in Gujarat later this month, the top Indian athletes are expected to feature in the event. But there's still no clarity on Srikanth's participation.
"I represent Andhra Pradesh. They don’t have an entry in the team event in badminton. We are still figuring this out because I’m injured (stiff back) at the moment. So, I haven’t been able to practice,” Srikanth said.
Talking about the road ahead, he said: “I’m looking to play in the Denmark Open and in France. next month. The first priority for me at the moment is to start training and get back to my 100 per cent..."
While he admits that the international calendar has become choc-a-bloc post the pandemic, Srikanth believes that prioritising tournaments is the key going forward.
"See, you can’t skip the Asian Games (next year), you can’t skip Super 1000 or a Super 750 series. So, it’s just about prioritising which tournaments to play, maintaining your body and being physically fit to play. That’s the only option," he said.
"It was much better pre-Covid because we used to have three back-to-back tournaments, but once in a year. After two back-to-back tournaments, there was a gap of two weeks. But now, when I saw the calendar for the next year, I was really shocked to see some 6-7 tournaments (scheduled) back to back, and that too twice," he said.
"So, it’s physically very challenging. You’ve to pick and choose. Since it’s the year of Olympic qualification, you can’t really skip tournaments. So, we are put in a situation where we can’t really skip tournaments, and we can’t play tournaments at our 100 per cent..."