Srikanth: 'India has good chances of winning medal at World C’ship'

Indian shuttlers have a great chance of winning a medal at next month’s World Championship provided they play consistently well throughout the prestigious tournament, feels Kidambi Srikanth, who won back-to-back titles at Indonesia and Australia.

K. Srikanth said the post-Olympics injury changed his life and he thanked chief coach Pullela Gopichand and Indonesian coach Mulyo Handoyo for the turnaround.   -  V. Sudershan

Riding a high, K. Srikanth has reasons to be optimistic of his chances in the upcoming World badminton championship but says, “There is no guarantee of a medal.”

In the Capital on Saturday, when he along with National chief coach P. Gopichand were felicitated by Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel, the World No. 8 singles player said, “About top 35 players in the world are working very hard on their game and any result in possible. Just look at H. S. Prannoy, he was ranked 29th during the Indonesia Open
last month but beat two big players (then World No. 1 Lee  Chong Wei and Olympic champion Chen Long) in successive matches.”

The World championship is scheduled in Glasgow from August 21 to 27.

Elaborating his point, Srikanth said, “All the leading players prepare very hard for the World championship and Olympic Games. We will also be well-prepared but there is no guarantee of a medal.”

Reflecting on his astonishing run in the past month, during which he finished runner-up in the Singapore Open and won the Indonesia and Australia Open titles, Srikanth said, “all the hard work after recovering from an (ankle) injury (during the Japan Open last September) helped me improve in all areas of my game. Now my game is coming together and I am very happy with the results. I owe my recent run of success to coach Gopichand and Indonesian coach Mulyo Handoyo.”

Srikanth side-stepped the question regarding the specific areas where Handoyo had helped him and said, “As you know, he was the coach of Taufik Hidayat (former World and Olympic champion) and his inputs in all areas helped me.”

Asked about his first-ever victory, in six encounters, over the current World and Olympic champion Chen Long in the Australian Open final, Srikanth said, “This time, I was more confident against Chen Long mainly due to my fine run of success before the final. That made me put in that 10 per cent extra into the match and I won.”

Earlier, Gopi acknowledged the government for its support. “I know, we are being credited for the success but I want to thank the government, the Prime Minister and the entire administration for their proactive role. We sometimes blame the govt for the failure and I think it is time to acknowledge its role.”

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