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Millennium Post

Kidambi Srikanth: The man you want to beat

Kidambi Srikanth has had a dream run this year and by no means was it easy to clinch. From ranking in the mere thirties to being the world No 2 is no ordinary feat but then again Kidambi Srikanth is not an ordinary man.

Every athlete in the world goes through a time where things seem grim and the downfall starts to follow them wherever they set foot. The decline in game time, the lack of victories, injuries and the media attention becomes a harrowing nightmare. Kidambi Srikanth was no stranger to this period but his ability to stand up against these adverse times and then go on to winning 4 Super Series in a row shows just what a mountain of a man he is at just 24.
Who would have thought that a boy from the small town of Guntur in Andhra Pradesh will rule the global badminton scene? One of the main reasons why the sport comes to naturally to Kidambi is that his agility comes from within and his movement postures are effortless to watch. This is perhaps the reason why today the 24-year old has won four back to back Super Series in one single calendar year becoming the only Indian to do so and only the 4th player in the world to achieve this marvelous feat. However, these winning streaks were not spoon fed to him and came at the expense of many downfalls.
It all started when the young shuttler failed to make history at the 2016 Rio Olympics following his brutal loss to Lin Dan in the Quarter Finals. Not only did this affect his ranking but mentally tanked his ability to come out of a loss. Fearing that he might not be cut out for the sport, he took a brief break from it all. This was followed by the ankle injury during the 2016 Korean Open which kept him out of action for at least four months. However, being the man that he is, Kidambi decided to not wallow in self defeat and then started the work of regrouping his strengths. In March 2017, his ranking tanked to the thirties as he lost to World No 1 Viktor Axelsen in the Yonex Indian Open. But things started to look up for the ace shuttler soon after as he clinched the 2nd spot in the Singapore Open and thereafter, the victories did not stop.
Kidambi Srikanth's sheer ability to pick himself from the times of hardship has played a pivotal role in his marvel of a year. Not only did he improve his physical position but as the year progressed, his mental finesse got better and the maturity that a professional player is supposed to emit started to seep into the young player. It would be a gross mistake to not thank his coaches Puella Gopichand, the kingmaker in Indian Badminton and the Indonesian coach Mulyo Handoyo. These two men have nursed the Indian shuttler in the best way possible with unique training styles and techniques.
Mulyo Handoyo compared Srikanth's skill set with that of legendary badminton player Taufik Hidayat. His shot making strengths, backhand shots and a powerful smash makes him lethal when playing in court; that along with one of the smoothest footwork in the business makes the Indian unstoppable.
The point is that in a country where more than half the population worships cricket, the rest is busy with football and tennis, players like Kidambi Srikanth are making sure that children grow up looking up to badminton just as much they look up to sports like cricket and football.

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