Kidambi Srikanth Becomes World No. 1 Badminton Player

Kidambi Srikanth replaced Viktor Axelsen of Denmark at the No. 1 spot in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings.


Indian player Kidambi Srikanth replaced Viktor Axelsen of Denmark at the No. 1 slot in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings on April 12. Srikanth is the first Indian man to become the world No. 1 in badminton.

The 25-year-old player moved to the top position with 76,895 points in men’s singles category, since Axelsen lost 1,660 points because he could not defend his Malaysian Open title.

He is the second Indian after Saina Nehwal to clinch the top rank.

“This is a huge achievement for Srikanth as well as for Indian badminton,” chief national coach Pullela Gopichand said from Gold Coast, Australia, according to the Hindustan Times. “There has been a lot of talk about our women doing well, but now we will have a men’s No.1. This will help Srikanth become more relaxed. Whatever happens from here, he will always know that he was ranked as the best in the world — that he has accomplished that goal. It will help him focus more on winning tournaments,” said Gopichand.

Srikanth, coached by Gopichand, is currently the top seed at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018. He defeated Sri Lanka’s Niluka Karunaratne 2-0 (21-10, 21-10) to reach the quarterfinals on April 12. He was also the part of the team that won the mixed team gold during the Commonwealth Games on April 9.

Both Nehwal and Srikanth have been coached by Gopichand at his academy in Hyderabad. Gopichand was the last Indian to win the All England Open in 2001.

In November 2017, Srikanth became the World No. 2 but missed the top spot due to an injury. He won four Super Series titles — Indonesia, Australia, Denmark, and France — in 2017. He is the fourth badminton player in the world to achieve the feat.

“I never expected Srikanth to beat Lee Chong Wei with such ease. Srikanth kept the pressure on Lee Chong once he got off to a good start. The gold medal in mixed team event was a great victory. I remember we used to lose to teams like Canada, England. And now to beat a formidable team like Malaysia only shows that Indian badminton is on its way up,” Gopichand said, after Srikanth beat Malaysian player Lee Chong Wei on April 9 at the ongoing Commonwealth Games in Australia.

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