Commonwealth Games 2018: Kidambi Srikanth Strong Contender For Gold
Kidambi Srikanth has had a less-than-impressive 2018 so far but is still good enough for top honours at the Commonwealth Games.
Kidambi Srikanth has had a less-than-impressive 2018 so far
He will however look to better his performance in the upcoming CWG
Srikanth is currently ranked second in the world
While most Indian fans will have their eyes fixed on the performance of women stars PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, Australia, Kidambi Srikanth will fly the flag for the country in the men's singles category. Srikanth will be keen to have his name etched in the history books and give India their second straight gold in the men's singles competition. Parupalli Kashyap had won the gold in Glasgow and Srikanth will be aiming to repeat that feat in this year's edition, starting on April 4.
India's only gold medal in badminton in Glasgow came courtesy Kashyap with Gurusai Dutt claiming the bronze in the men's category. This time around India have sent an even stronger contingent with Srikanth currently ranked second in the world and HS Prannoy ranked 16th.
The only major hurdle for Srikanth and Prannoy will come in the form of Malaysian superstar and current World No.5 Lee Chong Wei. Lee Chong already has two Commonwealth Games gold medals (2006 Melbourne and 2010 New Delhi) and will be eyeing his third at Gold Coast.
Srikanth had a sensational 2017, becoming the first Indian man to win consecutive Super Series titles as well as the only Indian so far to have laid his hands on the Australian Open trophy.
Not only that, by entering the Australian Open final, the 25-year-old also etched his name in record books as the first Indian male and the sixth player in history to reach three consecutive Super Series finals.
However, 2018 has been anything but successful for India's top male shuttler. After not taking part in the Malaysia Masters and Indonesia Masters, Srikanth's first match of 2018 came against Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong in the India Open. After huffing and puffing his way to a 21-17, 21-18 win, Srikanth was shocked by Malaysian qualifier Iskandar Zulkarnain in the second round of the tournament.
Srikanth's next assignment was at the Badminton Asia Team Championships 2018. The Indian easily beat his first two opponents from the Philippines and Maldives but lost to Jonatan Christie of Indonesia as India finished second in the Group D.
India took on China in the knockout and crashed out of the tournament, losing the tie 1-3. Srikanth, however, gave the biggest sign of getting his 2017 form back when he defeated Shi Yuqi 14-21, 21-16, 21-7.
The win over his Chinese opponent came as a boost for Srikanth, especially going into the All England Championships 2018. A lot was expected from Srikanth in Birmingham but the Indian struggled in the tournament from the outset.
His first-round opponent was little-known French player Brice Leverdez but the Indian shuttler found the going hard finally winning 7-21, 21-14, 22-20.
In the second round, however, Srikanth didn't get a chance and was dumped out by China's Huang Yuxiang, losing 11-21, 21-15, 20-22.
The Commonwealth Games will be the perfect stage for Srikanth to shrug off his poor form and return to winning ways.