Kidambi Srikanth rose to attain the World No. 1 ranking in the Men’s Singles category on 12th April 2018, a day which will now be remembered as another golden day in Indian sports.
Kidambi scripted history, a feat which only Prakash Padukone could achieve back in 1980.
After leading India to their first badminton mixed team goal at the CWG, Kidambi Srikanth has now reached the pinnacle of international badminton on Thursday, when he went past his toughest competitor, Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, the ousted world champion.
Currently, Srikanth has 76, 895 points while Viktor stands at 75, 470.
“I’m definitely delighted to have achieved the World No 1 ranking for the first time, and to become the first Indian man after Prakash sir to achieve this”- said Kidambi.
Who Is Kidambi Srikanth?
Born in a family of farmers in Hyderabad, Kidambi and his brother Nanda Gopal who also plays badminton professionally would have been tending to paddy fields in their hometown hadn’t it been for a municipal stadium which was constructed near their home in 2000.
The brothers would often go there to play badminton and it was here that their seriousness towards the game came into the picture.
Kidambi owes it to his father who took one of the toughest decisions of his life when he let his son foray into the arena of sports and give up on the classic Indian mentality of making the kid focus on academics.
Another hero in Kidambi’s story is his coach, Pullela Gopichand. Kidambi’s game revamped after his admission in the Gopichand Academy, because his slacker attitude had to go. Gopichand did not approve of multitasking — no juggling between academics and playing, and no partying or irregularity.
“Total credit for my career goes to Gopi Sir. “If he hadn’t shifted me at the right time, God knows where I would be right now. He trusted me and was there to train me every day. We’d have our sessions at 4.30 in the morning before the international players arrived at 6 AM. Only a few people like Sindhu and me and sometimes Kashyap would train at 4.30 AM.” – says an emotional Kidambi.
He made history. He smashed records. But he also stayed humble and calm, didn’t let the fame blind him as he perfectly emulated his idol, the tennis legend, Roger Federer.
Kidambi was slated to achieve the No. 1 rank owing to his brilliant performance in 2017 and 2018. With four Super Series titles in his kitty, 2017 truly looked like the year of Kidambi Srikanth.
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The young 24-year-old Kidambi was slowly inching his way towards the top and was becoming the player to beat.
What The People Had To Say
After the rankings were confirmed by the Badminton World Federation, accolades for the man of the hour couldn’t stop pouring in.
Parupalli Kashyap, former world no. 6, and Kidambi’s compatriot feels that this performance by Srikanth is only going to inspire all the other players to give it their best and continue to make India proud. He says that he has full faith in Kidambi’s capabilities and game and believes that the badminton player has it in him to sustain his rank.
“Srikanth is naturally agile. It helps him move to the net faster and finish with a tap kill. And his speed has been the key to his success and dominance on fast courts such as those in Denmark and France. In the kind of fast conditions that he’s won in, Srikanth is clearly the world’s best player,” said his coach Gopichand.
Bringing India on the top of the game after a long 38 years is not easy. In a country where cricket tends to overshadow other sports and sportspersons from different arenas struggle to match athletes from the world over due to the paucity of funds and lack of training opportunities, Kidambi’s achievement has given a new lease on the Indian sport and Indian fans another reason to rejoice about.
His victory hasn’t only brought India immense prestige on the international sporting arena but has managed to inspire yet another young kid to venture out and play for success.
Far removed from the glitz and glamour of the sporting world, an inspiration, a star was born, who managed to invoke passion and aggression for badminton in the cricket crazy nation known as India.
Image Credits: Google Images
Sources: Wikipedia, Quint, Indian Express
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