Padma Sri Awardee Srikanth motivated to achieve more laurels

Kidambi Srikanth means business in a year packed with Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and other prestigious tournaments.

Kidambi Srikanth is expected to play in the India Open.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

For Kidambi Srikanth, India’s champion shuttler, it was perfect morale-booster when he was named as one of the outstanding sportspersons to be conferred with the Padma Sri Award by the Government of India on Thursday.

The 24-year-old Srikanth, who prefers to let his racket do most of the talking being somewhat of an introvert - preferring to stay away from the limelight, has had a terrific run in 2017 winning four Super Series titles - a feat which put him in the Elite of the world badminton.

Not long ago in 2014, Srikanth was not even sure of how life can be – leave alone sport – after having a fall in the washroom at the Gopi Chand Academy. A phase which also saw him admitted to ICU only to recover like a true champion.

Read: Padma Bhushan Award for Dhoni, Advani

What clearly separated him from the rest of the contenders in men’s circuit from India has been his ability to show the desired consistency at the highest level after another of his comebacks last year. He is clearly not one of those who is forced to be content with the odd title once in an year.

“He is someone who is really special. A coach’s delight given the way he trains so hard and always showing that urge to keep improving,” says Gopi of his most famous shuttler after Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu.

And, now the Padma Sri Award should only be another huge motivating factor for him. “It is a great honour no doubt to get this Award and join some of the greatest achievers from my country in different fields,” he says.

“Definitely, will try my best to achieve many more laurels for the country. Yes, the immediate goal is to do well in the India Open next week,” says Srikanth.

For someone who skipped the on-going Indonesian Open because of a “minor injury”, the World No. 3 has not actually missed the training sessions at the Gopi Academy and is in the fighting mode to make a point on yet another comeback.

By his own confession, year 2018 is a big year what with the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, World championship besides the number of BWF Tier I and II events (earlier Super Series and Grand Prix events) lined up.

And, he reminds again that this is the most open era in world badminton where there is very little to choose amongst the top 10 players – be it in men’s or women’s singles.

“Exactly for this reason, my first objective is to give more than 100 per cent to keep winning more titles. Even if there is slackness of five per cent, it will start telling on you,” signs off the quiet customer who means business on the court irrespective of whom he is up against.