Kidambi Srikanth says he is more mature now as a player

Aug 16, 2018, 08:20 IST | Harpal Singh Bedi

Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth confident of good showing in upcoming Asian Games

Kidambi Srikanth says he is more mature now as a player
India's K Srikanth returns to Indonesia's Jonathan Christie during the Asia Team Championships in Malaysia early this year. Pic/Getty Images

Indian badminton star Kidambi Srikanth, 25, exuded confidence over performing well at the Asian Games beginning here on Saturday. With four leading players — PV Sindhu (World No. 3) Kidambi Srikanth (6), Saina Nehwal (10), HS Prannoy (11) — India on paper start as strong medal contenders.

"I'm in the best of shape, but everyone else is also doing well. We had five different tournaments in the last couple of months and we had five different winners. So, it is important for me to be at my best going into the Asian Games," said Kidambi. "I have no doubts that if we just play to our potential, we will be in contention for a podium finish," he said.

"There's no doubt it will be tough with Chinese and Indonesians along with Koreans and Japanese in contention," he added. The Indians have so far won only three bronze medals in these games — ; 1982 (Delhi), 1986 (Seoul) and 2014 (Incheon). Syed Modi is the only Indian to have won a medal in the individual event 36 years ago, while the men's and women's doubles pair finished on the podium in 1986 and 2014 respectively.

But this time, one can realistically hope for a medals in the individual events. For long, badminton has been the preserve of China and Indonesia in these continental quadrennial Games. The overwhelming domination of these countries can be judged from the fact that China has so far won 101 medals, 40 of which are gold. Indonesia has 91 medals which include 26 gold.

However, in this edition of the Games India enter as a force after their successful campaign at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in which, for the first time, they won six medals, with two gold, three silver, and one bronze, pushing favourites Malaysia behind. It was also at Gold Coast that Sindhu and Saina created history as they set up an all-India final in the women's singles. "There are many players who are doing well. Lin Dan as always, will be a fierce competitor.

"Then there is Kento Momota and it is not going to be easy at all," said Srikanth, who is taking part in his second regional showpiece event. "I'm a more mature player now. I was just 21 then [2014 Asian Games] and a lot has changed. Lot many things have gone redundant and I had to rework my game. "Many things have happened after that for me — the Olympics and Commonwealth Games. "Four years is a big time for any sportsperson and I want to better my performance here," he concluded.

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