N. Sikki Reddy: It's never easy to get an Arjuna Award

N. Sikki Reddy, who is engaged to doubles specialist B. Sumeeth Reddy, says that the duo enjoys a "special bond" and is chasing an Olympic gold.

Star doubles shuttlers players B. Sumeeth Reddy and N. Sikki Reddy, who got engaged recently.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

A decade ago, shuttler N. Sikki Reddy was staring at a virtual dead-end to her badminton career because of a career-threatening, right knee injury sustained in the Asian Circuit. For one year, she was forced to stay away from the game.

“Yes, now when I get this Arjuna Award, I do look back at what was clearly the most traumatic phase of my career then,” recalls 25-year-old Sikki in an exclusive chat with Sportstar on arrival from China on Saturday morning.

“Worse that injury happened within one year after I lost a close final to Saina (Nehwal) in the 2009 Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune. And, the injury later on ended my singles career and forced me to focus on doubles only,” she added.

“It is never easy to get an Arjuna Award, which is truly inspirational to dream bigger, given the tough competition from so many outstanding athletes. I am glad that having missed out last year I could make it and I owe this to my parents, Dr. Ashok Rajgopal, Dr. Raghuveera Reddy, coach Gopi Sir and all the fellow players and support staff at the Gopi Academy,” she says.

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"This Award will be one of the high-points of my career with the gold each in Commonwealth Games, SAF Games and Syed Modi Grand Prix and a bronze each in Asian Games, Japan Super Series, Uber Cup," says Sikki.

What next?

“Well, next year is the 2020 Olympics qualification year and we have to be at our best and keep improving on fitness front, maintain a perfect nutrition programme besides hard work on the court,” feels Sikki.

On her doubles partners (both women and mixed), the champion doubles shuttler says that she is enjoying the partnership with Ashwini (World No. 27) employing the right-left strategy on the court quite successfully. “Of course, we have to go a long way still,” says the 2018 Commonwealth Games team gold-medallist.

“We are already in the preparatory mode for the Tokyo Olympics with long hours of training. I don’t feel it is taxing to compete in both mixed and women’s doubles. We actually enjoy the challenges,” she said.

On getting engaged to doubles specialist and shuttler B. Sumeeth Reddy, Sikki thanks him for being “understanding and supportive.” “We enjoy a special bond as we both are chasing the ultimate gold of an Olympic medal. It will be fantastic if we were to achieve that one feat,” she signed off.

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