Arun Vishnu knows Kidambi Srikanth inside out, having been part of the same set-up for the last one and half decades. Vishnu and Srikanth played together before the former turned into a national coach.
As one of the coaches of the Indian team, Vishnu was fortunate to witness the historic men’s singles semifinal between Srikanth and Lakshya Sen in the ongoing World Championships.
Since both players are from India, the coach's chair was empty as part of the rules and regulations of the national team.
Vishnu watched the match from the sidelines in Huelva, Spain on Saturday and considers himself lucky to have witnessed a historic event in Indian badminton. For the first time in history, two Indian players met in the semifinals of the World Championships. Srikanth won the contest.
"I'm happy to be part of this historic moment" - Arun Vishnu
Vishnu said Srikanth’s vast experience helped him beat Lakshya 17-21, 21-14, 21-17.
“First of all I am happy to be part of this historic moment. Both (Srikanth and Lakshya) gave their 100%. They were focused, fighting for each point and keeping their emotions in control. The match could have gone either way. But I feel the experience of Srikanth helped him to pull off a win,” Vishnu told Sportskeeda.
Both Vishnu and Lakshya are employed by Indian Oil.
“Lakshya is still young, as he is just 20 years old. Lakshya will surely do well in the coming years. Lakshya is a current employee of Indian Oil and Srikanth is an ex-employee of Indian Oil. Both are close to me and I am happy for both of them. They both have made the country proud with their achievements at the BWF World Championships,” Vishnu said.
Srikanth and Lakshya met for the first time in an international tournament. Srikanth created history by becoming the first Indian men’s singles shuttler to reach the World Championships final.
The 28-year-old Srikanth will square off against Singapore’s Kean Yew Loh in the final on Sunday. World No 14 Srikanth beat the Singaporean at the 2018 Commonwealth Games Mixed Team event.
Loh, 24, beat the likes of third seed Anders Antonsen, Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen and HS Prannoy enroute to the final.