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Kidambi Srikanth: 1st Indian Male Shuttler to Become World No. 1

Srikanth is the second Indian to become world number 1 after Saina Nehwal, who achieved the feat in 2015.

Updated
Badminton
2 min read
File photo of Kidambi Srikanth.
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Kidambi Srikanth on Thursday became the first Indian male shuttler to reach world number 1 ranking in badminton. In the process, he displaced Denmark’s Viktor Axelson from the top spot.

Srikanth moved to the top of rankings with 76,895 points in men's singles category to displace current world champion Axelsen, who lost at least 1,660 points because he could not defend his Malaysian Open title. The Malaysian Open was held from April 4-9 last year but has now been postponed to June 26 to July 1 due to the ongoing Commonwealth Games.

Srikanth is the second Indian to become world number 1 after Saina Nehwal, who became the first Indian to achieve the feat in 2015.

Srikanth, who won four Super Series titles last year, which included Indonesia Open, Australian Open, Denmark Open and French Open, had an opportunity to dethrone Axelson in December last year but couldn’t do so due to an injury.

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Coach Pullela Gopichand hailed Srikanth’s rise as a major achievement not only for Indian badminton but also for the Indian men in the sport, who have always been compared with their more successful female counterparts.

“This is a huge achievement for Srikanth as well as for Indian badminton,” Gopichand told media in Australia.

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.
Pullela Gopichand, Srikanth’s coach

The 25-year-old played an integral part in India’s gold medal win in the mixed team event in the 21st Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast. Srikanth overcame former world number 1 Lee Chong Wei in straight Games as India won the final 3-1.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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