The year 2018 was bound to be action-packed for Indian badminton, and in many ways it turned out be historic as well. A strong showing at the Commonwealth Games and unprecedented results at the Asian Games made it another year to remember.
For India’s top-ranked male shuttler Kidabmi Srikanth, though, it’s been bit of a roller-coaster ride. It appears that way because of the incredible run he put together in 2017. The badminton ace himself thinks he has had a good year, and is looking forward to some time off at the end of it.
Speaking to Scroll.in at the Red Bull India premises in Mumbai, Srikanth said, “It’s been a fairly good year for me. I won an individual medal at CWG and we won the team event for the first time ever. The ups and downs do happen, I am focussed on getting back to my best again. Getting to world no 1 was a special thing for me and I definitely want to get back there.”
It’s not just Srikanth but the Indian players in general have had a hectic calendar year so far and that is something that’s affected the time he gets to train, he said.
“Unlike last year, I haven’t had too much preparation time for big events. But that’s how it is for every athlete so I can’t complain. I just have to keep all that aside and keep working hard,” he said. “Given I didn’t get too much time in Hyderabad, I tried to make the most of time during tournaments by training. That’s probably one of the reasons why I got injured frequently this year. Wish I can manage it much better next year.”
Regarding being picked up by Bengaluru raptors in the PBL auction for the maximum possible amount of Rs 80 lakh, Srikanth said, “It’s really good to be back in Bengaluru and I want to ensure I repay the faith they have shown in me. I will pay them back.”
How does meet the expectations from him after the year he has had? Is that something that puts him under pressure?
“Expectations will be there always and I am really lucky to have that from so many fans when I go to tournaments, supporting me, cheering me on.,” Srikanth said. “I know I haven’t produced the results they wanted this year but I will make sure I give my 100% every time I am out there.
Of the deal with Red Bull itself, the shuttler said it was one of the biggest he has signed his career and he’s looking forward to a fruitful association with the brand.
Watch the full interview here, as he talks about life away from the badminton court, a packed, roller-coaster 2018 and more.