Kidambi Srikanth’s fine run in the BWF World badminton Championship finished with a silver-medal after he went down fighting in the men’s singles summit clash against Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew in straight games in Huelva on Sunday.
Srikanth went down 15-21, 20-22 in 43 minutes in a match that was closely fought.
Former world number one Srikanth lost the first game after leading 9-3, as his opponent from Singapore staged a fine comeback. The Indian lost the first game in 16 minutes despite leading at the interval.
Srikanth fought brilliantly in the second game but Loh was too good on the day, emerging the winner.
The 24-year-old Loh had stunned world number one and reigning Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen in the first round of the men’s singles event at the prestigious championship and had been in marauding form since. He is the first Singaporean gold medallist at the event.
Nevertheless, Srikanth too etched his name in the history books by becoming the first Indian man to reach the finals of the championships after his come-from-behind win over compatriot Lakshya Sen on Saturday.
Here’s what Srikanth had to say after the final:
Emotions right now:
Definitely it has been a great week, even today I had my chances in both the sets. In the first set I had a healthy lead, in the second set I had a 18-16 cushion. But yeah, I just wasn’t able to finish off the match today. Credits to him, he played really well. Lot of things to learn from this and I will definitely try to get better.
Frustration with the errors:
Going into this match, I wanted to very positive. Try to avoid mistakes. Sometimes, it happens. One has to win and one has to lose. Couldn’t really do much, I tried to stay in the match throughout. It really worked in the second set, but important to finish things off. Something that I will work on.
How different is Kean Yew now since last meeting:
Well, we played four years back or something [three years back at the CWG 2018]. A lot can happen in such a long time. He’s improved his game, matured as a player, physical strength... he’s been playing exceptionally well last few months. Playing really well.
Coming late to the tournament and whether he exceeded expectations:
I didn’t know if I will able to come here till last Thursday. Got to know Thursday around 5-6 pm, that I got my visa. Until I wasn’t sure. So yeah, just happy to be able play this tournament and it has been a great week for me, I was able to play really well throughout. Would’ve loved to win even today, but will definitely try and get better.
Looking back at 2021:
Few tournaments I played really well, few tournaments I couldn’t play. Again, at a such big event, to be in the final and get this opportunity at the World Championships to win silver... something that I worked really hard for. I’ll just try and continue to work hard, it’s a process. Lot of tournaments next year with Asian Games, CWG, another Worlds. Big year... will try and learn from this experience and work on it.
Message to fans:
Definitely would like to thank everyone back home. They have been wonderful, they’ve supporting me throughout the week. I’ve been getting a lot of good wishes. Just very happy for that.— via BWF Mixed Zone
In another interview to Badminton Europe, Srikanth refers to Paris (French Open Super 750) defeat against Kento Momota as a crucial point in his recent good form: