Wednesday, December 8, 2021
SportBadmintonQualifying for Tokyo Olympics is Srikanth’s top priority

Qualifying for Tokyo Olympics is Srikanth’s top priority

Published: 22nd Apr 2021 11:48 pm | Updated: 23rd Apr 2021 12:06 am

Hyderabad: Ruing that he will miss a few crucial points because of the postponed May 11-16 India Open 2021 BWF World Tour Super 500 event in New Delhi due to spurt in Covid-19 cases in the country, Kidambi Srikanth is now looking at the Malaysia Open World Tour Super 750 (May 25 to 30) and Singapore Open World Tour Super 500 (June 1 to 6) tournaments as the two windows for the quadrennial event.

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“It naturally hurt me when the India Open was postponed as I’m on the verge of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics. There is no such mentally stress. It is simple. I have to play well and qualify for the Olympics in the two tournaments in Malaysia and Singapore. I am 20th in the rankings now. I have to get to 16th rank. If I do well in these tournaments I will still have a chance. I have to try to give my best since the India Open has been postponed. Qualifying for the Olympics will be my top priority now,’’ said the 28-year-old shuttler.

The former World No.1 pointed out that he would not like to compare IPL with India Open. “One has to remember IPL started when there was not much of the second wave of Covid-19. The sporting activities were happening. The IPL teams too had the bio-bubble a long time back. This new wave started recently. It was a BWF (Badminton World Federation) and BAI (Badminton Association of India) call. They might have taken the decision keeping in view of the situation.’’

In fact, Srikanth said the lockdown period since March last year had helped him as a player. “I could focus on my fitness and I could recover through proper rehabilitation. I’m happy the way I’m training now. I’m in better shape than 2018 and 2019. My focus is to train well and try to qualify for the Olympics. I still feel I have four or five years of good badminton in me.’’

According to Srikanth, the new Indonesian badminton coach Agus Dwi Santoso, who joined the Indian team last year, is good. “I can see the changes in my game. I’m able to play my shots more freely. I can feel that when I play in the practice sessions. I’m itching to play in tournaments where I can assess my game and know my weakness. That is not happening now.’’

The last tournament circuit that Srikanth played was in Europe in March this year and he was reasonably happy with his performances. “I was confident with my game in those tournaments and reached the semifinals of the Swiss Open. It was a different story in All England as I was not allowed to practice and I had to directly play the matches without practice because of various Covid-19 tests.’’

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