From winning Senior Nationals to qualifying for the Olympics: A pictorial look at Kidambi Srikanth's journey
The 7-member Indian contingent to Rio will have as many as 4 debutants and among will be Kidambi Srikanth, who will be the country’s sole representative at the Olympics as far as Men’s Singles is concerned.
Here’s a look at his journey to his maiden Summer Games:
Despite having established himself as a Singles player, later on, Srikanth first burst onto the scene as a doubles player, when he won a silver medal and a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games that were held in Isle of Man in 2011. In the same year, Srikanth won yet another doubles title as well as his first Singles title, at the All India Junior International Badminton Championship in Pune.
2012 and 2013 – Fair share of success
After succeeding in 2011, Srikanth triumphed further in 2012, when he beat the then junior champion Zulfadli Zulkifli to win the Maldives International and then a year later, won his first Grand Prix Gold event, beating Bonsana Poonsak, who was ranked 8th in the world at the time.
The year only got better for the youngster as defeated his fellow countrymen Parupalli Kashyap in the final of the Senior National Championships to put himself further in the limelight.
2014 – the actual breakthrough year
As and when Kidambi Srikanth does give up the sport, he would look back and perhaps consider 2014 as the year when he really made an impression on the world stage as a high-class shuttler.
After finishing runners-up at the India Open Grand Prix Gold and entering the semifinals and quarterfinals of the Malaysian Open as well as the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. But his big break came at the China Open Superseries Premier later that year when he defeated none other than the mighty Lin Dan in the final to lift his maiden Superseries crown.
Those exploits saw Srikanth climb rapidly in the rankings and he soon established himself as among the top five shuttlers in the world.
2015 – Good year marred by inconsistency
A lot was expected from the shuttler in 2015 after he had climbed to as high as Number 3 in the world, and he began the year on a positive note, winning the Swiss Open Grand Prix gold as well as the India Open.
But it was in the second half of the year that the Indian failed to maintain consistency, losing out in the opening rounds in several competitions, thereby also falling down rapidly in the rankings.
2016 – Same story repeats
The present year began on a positive note for Srikanth as he lifted the Syed Modi Grand Prix gold in Lucknow, but once again failed to sustain that good run of form, losing in the opening round of several events.
After taking a break from the 2016 Thomas and Uber Cup campaign, he returned to action at the Australian Open and put forth a commendable showing, reaching the semifinals of the competition.