From being at the top of the world rankings to reaching the nadir by not qualifying for the Olympics, K Srikanth has seen it all in four years. So it was no surprise that the seasoned commuter’s celebrations seemed muted after the world championship silver that made history.
He’s not the one celebrating comebacks. Instead, Srikanth displayed the equanimity that helped him stay afloat during his struggle with fitness and form.
It was India’s very first men’s singles silver medal at the prestigious tournament, but there were no quotes on the fist or “dream come true”.
All he could figure out was “this is something that I really worked hard for, and I’m really happy to be here today.” let yourself be swayed by the success that followed months of toil and heartbreak, the greatest being the Olympic Miss.
“ I’m happy with the way he reacted, he celebrated this victory after the end of his career, now is the time to buckle up and seek consistency. It’s good to be on the positive side before a big year, ” an impressed Gopichand told PTI.
Even though he had let his hair down a bit, who could have judged him? Because for a while now the biggest believer in his ability to do something great was Srikanth himself.
Faced with a visa problem, he wasn’t even sure he would make it to the tournament, even if it meant winning a medal and he was just happy to compete.
It was in 2001 that the man of Guntur followed in the footsteps of his brother Nandagopal to retrieve the racket.
Soon he was training at the Pullela Gopichand academy and quickly achieved success as a doubles player, but he moved on to singles on the advice of the head coach and burst onto the scene with the victory at the Thailand Open in 2013.
He was hailed as the next big thing when he shocked five-time world champion and two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan in the final of the China Open Super Series Premier event, a performance that also promised a medal at the Games. Rio Olympics.
But Srikanth faltered in quarterfinals in Rio after Lin Dan avenged his loss on the biggest stage.
However, the Indian quickly returned to stun the badminton world by winning four super series titles in five finals in 2017, a feat achieved only by Lee Chong Wei, Lin Dan and Chen Long in one calendar year.
Soon he was the toast of the whole country, but then he injured his knee at the French Open in November of the same year and made it worse at the national championships.
He recovered to win the coveted Commonwealth Games gold in Gold Coast in 2018 and also earned his place atop the world rankings for a week in April, but then came the downfall.
The knee injury and other issues, especially related to his ankle, affected his performance.
With Olympic qualifying around the corner, Srikanth also rushed his return from injuries and the rush likely backfired.
His movement was slow, his accuracy was slightly lower and as a result the number of international wins decreased due to which his ranking started to drop and he was out of the top 10 in November 2019.
He stayed committed to the process and as he beat the best every now and then, Srikanth lacked consistency. A series of quarter-finals and semi-finals kept him afloat, but he needed a title win, a taste of what it’s like to be on the podium again.
The COVID-19 pandemic at first seemed like a blessing in disguise as he could regain his best form, but then the second wave hit, leading to the cancellation of three Olympic qualifiers and his hopes of making it to the Tokyo Olympics. have evaporated.
When the international circuit resumed, Srikanth again sought that victory which could restore his confidence.
Although victories were hard to come by, his daring show in a three-game thriller against two-time world championship gold medalist Kento Momota at Roland Garros in October gave him a boost.
He turned a corner after that, reaching the semi-finals at the next two events – Hylo Open and Indonesia Masters.
But he still needed a little luck to get closer to the title. It happened to him when he became the top-ranked player in his half following the withdrawals of Momota, Jonatan Christie and Anthony Ginting in Spain.
Srikanth seized the opportunity with both hands and made his long-held dream of a world championship medal come true on Sunday, but it was clear he wasn’t going to sit on the laurels.
There will be a lot at stake in 2022, and he can’t wait to make his comeback story a little more enchanting.
âI’m just going to try to keep working hard, it’s a process. Lots of tournaments next year with Asian Games, CWG, another World Cup. Great year … I will try to learn from this experience and work on it. ” PTI ATK PM ââPM KHS KHS
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)