Srikant to skip Thomas Cup for Rio Olympics

Indian shuttler Srikanth is clearly convinced that skipping the Thomas Cup will help him prepare better for August’s Olympic Games in Brazil

To ensure he gives his body enough recovery time, World No 12 badminton player Kidambi Srikanth — also the lone Indian male in the Rio Olympics singles category — has decided to skip the Thomas Cup (May 15-22 in Kunshan, China).

Kidambi Srikanth
India’s World No 12 badminton player Kidambi Srikanth at a city hotel on Saturday. PIC/PRADEEP DHIVAR

“I am very happy to have qualified for the Rio Games. Getting an Olympic medal is the ultimate dream for any sportsperson. If it happens (winning a medal), it will be the highest point of my career. I am not saying I will definitely win, but I want to give my best. For that, I will be playing only two Super Series events — Indonesian Open (May 30-June 5 in Jakarta) and Australian Open (June 7-12 in Sydney) before Rio and will be giving Thomas Cup a miss,” said the 23-year-old, who is supported by GoSports Foundation.

Aiming for World Top 8
Srikanth is in the city for a week-long pilates session in Santacruz with fitness expert Sameer Purohit. Pilates is a form of exercise that helps muscle balance, core strengthening and stability, reduces stress and provides back pain relief.

Srikanth aims to break into the World Top 8 before the Rio Games. “I would have been happier had I been more consistent and in the Top 10. Nonetheless, my focus now is to break into the Top 8 by the cut-off date for the men’s singles draw at Rio to increase my medal chances. There will be 16 seeds.

Seeds 5-8 will play seeds 1-4 only in the quarters, while 9-16 will play in the pre quarters,” added Srikanth.

Srikanth who hasn’t won a Super Series title since 2014, said he decided to choose tournaments wisely to ensure he gets everything right in his Olympics preparation. “I have played too many tournaments over the last five-six months. After these two tournaments (Indonesia and Australia), I will have a break of seven-to-eight weeks in which I will train for the Olympics. Currently, I am on a three-and-a-half week break. It’s a very good time to rest and train,” he said.

Though 2012 London Olympics quarter-finalist P Kashyap (World No 29) couldn’t make the Rio cut, Srikanth is hoping to take a few tips from him before heading to Brazil.

“Representing your country at the Olympics is a lot of responsibility. This is my first time and though Kashyap unfortunately couldn’t qualify, I would surely talk to him and take advice on handling pressure and what to expect at the Olympics,” said Srikanth.

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