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Monday, April 23, 2018

ace shuttler (CW Silver medalist) Kidambi Srikanth spurned celebrating his World No. 1

At Gold Coast Commonwealth Games came to an end and it's now four years until Birmingham 2022 but in light of one of the biggest events coming to the Australian shores, the games attracted so many.  Over 6,600 athletes and team officials from 71 nations and territories made history over 11 unforgettable days of world class sporting action.  For the first time in the history of a major multi-sport Games, there was an equal number of medal events for men and women across all sports.  There were 29 countries who claimed gold, with medals shared between 43 countries, beating the previous best of 39 which was set at Manchester 2002 and equalled at Melbourne 2006  ~ India had its moments under the Sun.
Kidambi Srikkanth conferred Padmashri award

                                        Indian badminton ace and newly crowned world No.1 Kidambi Srikanth lost his men’s singles final 21-19, 14-21, 14-21 in an hour and five minutes to Malaysian legend Lee Chong Wei at the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Carrera Sports Arena onSunday. The Indian had beaten the three-time Olympic silver medallist earlier in the final of the mixed team event where India brushed aside the Malaysian challenge to win gold. However, Lee Chong Wei got the better of Srikanth to clinch his third men’s singles gold at the Commonwealth Games -- 2006, 2010 and 2018.

Kidambi Srikanth, who became World No. 1 two weeks back, thanked Sachin Tendulkarin a Twitter post for his ‘kind words’ back in 2015 that made him work hard to reach the top spot. Srikanth, who returned with a silver medal from Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia, posted a picture with the former cricketer and said, “I am honoured to meet you sir. I still remember in 2015 when you told me that I will become World No.1 and that made me work much harder. Thank you sir @sachin_rt for your kind words.”

The 25-year old joined the elite list by becoming World No. 1 in men’s singles category after Badminton World Federation (BWF) updated its weekly rankings. Srikanth joins Saina Nehwal to become only the second Indian and the first Indian male shuttler to achieve the feat in modern ranking system. Srikanth, who overtook World Champion Viktor Axelsen at the top of rankings with 76,895 points in men’s singles category, had missed out on the chance to become No. 1 in the world last year after suffering an injury.  The Andhra Pradesh player, who secured the World No. 2 ranking in November, won four Super Series titles – Indonesia, Australia, Denmark and France last year. The Indian shuttler became only the fourth in the world to achieve that feat.

Kidambi Srikanth reached the top of the world rankings during the Commonwealth Games 2018 and true to his nature, coach Pullela Gopichand did not allow his ward to celebrate the feat or even cut a cake. Gopichand is a tough and honourable man ~ a decade and half ago, he rejected the brand endorsement offer of soft drinks after he won the All England Badminton Championship in 2001. He was the second Indian to win the championship after the renowned Prakash Padukone, who won the title in 1980.

During the Commonwealth games,  historic event took place when Srikanth Kidambi reached the World No. 1 spot in the BWF rankings, making him the first Indian male to do so.  However, Pullela Gopichand, who is the chief national coach and is credited with changing the face of Indian badminton, later revealed that no celebrations were allowed for Srikanth's feat in Gold Coast. He told NDTV, "It was a big tournament and it was important to focus. It's very easy to get distracted. Then Srikanth was World No. 1 and they said let's celebrate, let's cut a cake. I said this can wait, you need to put your head down.  "Gopichand has often stressed the importance of remaining focused during events in the past and it was no surprise to see him assume the role of the tough taskmaster once again. He added that he cannot allow any celebration during the middle of the event.

The former All England champion also spoke about the historic women's singles final between his wards PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, where it was the latter who came up trumps. "I did not watch the Saina-Sindhu match," he said. "It was very prestigious that for the first time in final both were Indians. I was relaxed because we were getting both gold and silver."

Aerated soft drinks may be seen as cool by many, especially the youth with their role models from the movie and sports arenas pushing the products through advertisements, but for the all England badminton champion Pullela Gopichand, they are a strict no.  In 2002, fresh from basking in glory, the ace shuttler turned down a lucrative offer from a cola major in the country to feature in their advertisements.  "i am against aerated drinks as they are not good for health. just as i firmly believe that smoking and drinking (of alcoholic beverages) is bad for health, so is the case with aerated drinks," he was quoted as saying.

Principle over lucre ~ nothing to decide as most would fall for the latter ! ~ but champions are made of a different stuff.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
23rd Apr 2o18

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