Kidambi Srikanth Thanks Gopichand After Becoming World Number 1

Kidambi Srikanth Set To Dethrone Viktor Axelsen To Claim World No. 1 Spot

Kidambi Srikanth Set To Dethrone Viktor Axelsen To Claim World No. 1 Spot

Three days after TOI predicted the ascension of Srikanth, Badminton World Federation (BWF) confirmed it in the weekly rankings released on Thursday. Viktor Axelsen is now in the second spot with 75,470 points.

Saina Nehwal remains the only Indian woman shuttler to have taken World No. 1 position back in 2015.

Since bursting onto the worldwide scene when he won the Thailand Open Grand Prix title in 2013, Srikanth has enjoyed a brilliant run of form as he clinched four Super Series titles last season and came close to claiming the World No.1 ranking. He should have become No. 1 previous year but injury prevented him from playing the year-end tournaments. The feeling is yet to sink in. Badminton legend Prakash Padukone was the world No 1 in 1980, but the rankings were not official back then. Both Srikanth and Prannoy have reached the quarterfinals of the ongoing Commonwealth Games 2018 taking place in Gold Coast. But an untimely injury prevented him from playing the China Open and other tournaments. Earlier, he had also defeated former world no.1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in the tournament. But I never felt bad about that. Now there is more responsibility on my shoulders and I like it that way. You always have to be on your guard, which I was. Over the past 6 years, the foundation's support has also evolved with Srikanth's needs: it has involved funding his global tournaments to make sure he gained competition exposure, camera equipment to analyse his match play, arranging for mentorship by Rahul Dravid to ensure that he also got the perspective of a legend from outside of his own sport, and assisting with his injury rehabilitation, physiotherapy and arranging for a trainer to ensure that he stays fit to be able to cope with the rigours of the packed BWF calendar.

Ajay Singhania, the newly-elected Secretary General of BAI also congratulated Srikanth and said, "I wish him all the best and the Indian contingent for the historic gold medal win at the Commonwealth Games played Down Under".

"He is a different player now and one of the best in the contemporary era".

It is a proud moment for coach Gopichand who has seen the likes of Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth emerge out of his training school in Hyderabad. He has raised the bar so high that he is now an inspiration for scores of youngsters. Now that he has become No. 1, Srikanth can be more relaxed. "He, however, should work more on his consistency and look to win at bigger events such as World Championships and Asian Games", Vimal told DH.

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