Srikanth: We are beating Chinese players consistently

At an event organised by a news channel, the Indian shuttler briefly reveals what led to his ongoing purple patch.

K. Srikanth accepting his award on Thursday.   -  PTI

India’s Kidambi Srikanth has admitted shuttlers from his country have outperformed their Chinese peers in recent times. At a function organised by news channel CNN News 18, Srikanth said this when asked whether the Chinese were scared of the Indians: “I should say yes, because in men’s and women’s singles we have been doing very well and consistently beating Chinese players.”

Srikanth was bestowed the Sportsman of the Year award by the news channel during the event. The current World No. 5 made headlines in the sport this year by winning four Super Series titles. He had endured a tough 2016 as he had recurring knee and ankle injuries before scripting a turnaround.

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Asked what had changed in the time between the Olympic loss to Lin Dan and his purple patch this year, Srikanth said, “It was a tough loss against Lin and I couldn’t take it. It was really heartbreaking. But I kept telling myself that I have to work hard. Lin Dan played five percent better in [the] Olympics and he won. And then I played 10 percent better this year and it worked in my favour.”

Influence of Gopichand

He credited chief national coach and mentor Pullela Gopichand for his achievements. “If Gopi sir did not start his academy, we won’t be here and Indian badminton would not have achieved what is being achieved now. He is a very strict coach but a friend off the court. He has the experience to guide us in tough situations.”

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Asked about his goals, Srikanth said, “I don’t want to be known as someone who lost major events in the quarterfinals. I want to win medals in these major events next year. I am not thinking about Tokyo Olympics as 2020 is long way. I want to think about next year.”