10 things to know about India's rising badminton star Kidambi Srikanth
India’s rising badminton star Kidambi Srikanth is the only Indian international in the top 10 men’s singles rankings and has put forth many excellent performances already during the course of his short career. From being ranked 240th in the world in 2012 to entering the Top 5 in 2015, the 22-year-old’s journey has certainly been a topsy-turvy yet memorable one.
Here are the 10 things which will help you to know him better:
1. Kidambi Srikanth was born in a typical middle-class family on 7th February 1993 in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. His father Mr.KVS Krishna is a farmer, and his mother Mrs.Radha is a house-wife and also has a brother Nanda Gopal who is also a badminton player himself.
2. He first burst onto the scene in 2011, when he National Junior Championships in Pune, prior to which he clinched the silver medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games at the Isle of Man.
3. Srikanth defeated Thai veteran and world number 8th Boonsak Ponsana to clinch the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold played at Bangkok in 2013, thus becoming only the second Indian after HS Prannoy to win a tournament of such stature.
4. In the same year, he defeated then national champion, Parupalli Kashyap at the 2013 All India Senior National Championships at New Delhi, thus indicating his rise amongst the country's most talented shuttlers. However, Kashyap has emerged victorious in their only meeting at the international stage.
5. The 22-year old player is supported by an independent, professionally managed and donor-funded organisation by the name of GoSports Foundation whose main focus is on strengthening the future of Indian sport.
6. His first major triumph came in 2014, when he created a major upset in the final of the 2014 China Open Super Series Premier by beating 5 times World Champion and 2 times Olympic Champion Lin Dan in straight sets (21–19 21–17) and thus becoming the first Indian to win a Super Series Premier Men's title.
He was expectedly overjoyed with the victory and said, “I had grown up thinking of Lin Dan as my idol. So to win my first Super Series title by beating him in China was a great feeling. I don’t think I will ever have a victory like the one at the China Open.”
7. Srikanth is coached by 2001 All England Open and current chief coach of the Indian team Pullela Gopichand and trains at the former player’s world class training facility in Hyderabad. Several badminton athletes such as Parupalli Kashyap, P. V. Sindhu, Arundhati Pantawane also train at the same academy.
8. The youngster reached the semi-finals of Hong Kong Open Super Series after beating in-form Chou Tien Chen in the early rounds but lost the tie to China's Chen Long in three sets. However, his struggle against Chinese Chen Long was not yet over, as the World number 1 defeated Srikanth in the semi-finals of the prestigious Super Series Masters Finals.
9. After a good start to 2015, where he won the Swiss Open as well as the India Open, Srikanth endured a hard second-half of the year where he was knocked in the early stages of several tournaments, including the Dubai Superseries Finals, failing to make the semifinals of the competition.
10. The 22-year old was bought by Bengaluru-based franchise the Bengaluru Top Guns for a price of USD 80,000 in the recently concluded Premier Badminton League auction and will in probability spearhead the Men’s Singles challenge for his side.