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Don’t want to just qualify, want to go as a medal contender: Srikanth on Paris Olympics

Struggling to qualify for the Olympics, Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth on Wednesday said he doesn’t wish to go to Paris Games unless he is a real contender for a medal.

The 30-year-old, who had reached the quarterfinals of Rio Olympics, has been going through a prolonged lean patch, which extended further following his first-round exit from the India Open Super 750 here.

“Frankly, I’ve been there at the Olympics. I missed out by a very small margin last time. So I’ve seen that, I’ve seen this. So, it doesn’t really matter to me anymore,” he said.

“And if I win tournaments, I’ll be there. If I don’t win or not be there doesn’t really bother me much. For me, it is about just winning. That’s it.” Srikanth had missed the Tokyo Olympics after a series of tournaments were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is not just about qualifying for me, if I’m there at the Olympics, I want to go as a medal contender, I just don’t really want to play it for the sake of playing it. So, if I can really win some tournaments in next few months, that will take me to the Olympics,” he said.

“I don’t think I’m doing bad. Because here, the last week, everywhere, there were good matches, I had my chances in every match. But probably, if I would have taken that first set, probably things could have been different.

ALSO READ | Satwik-Chirag pair wins, error-prone Srikanth goes down in India Open opener

“For me, it’s just about that click, probably because I’ve also lost quite a few matches, so probably that is just not happening. I know I can do it. It’s just about one match. If I can really pull that one match, I definitely have the chance.” The one aspect of his game which is affecting his game is a slew of unforced errors, and Srikanth said he is trying to address it.

“Yeah, I have been doing quite a lot of unforced errors again and even at the beginning of the second set, I did quite a lot today.

“But again, I’m somebody who really likes to take on points, I don’t really play safe and the downside of it is unforced errors, but if I can cut down on those that I think it’ll make a big difference.

“I get a point and when it goes out, I lose a point, but that’s how I always played. When I won tournament, that’s how I went tournaments.

“But again, I am definitely working on cutting down on those unforced errors but I did quite a few today, and I will definitely work on them and then probably do a lot less than next time.” Parupalli Kashyap has recently started coaching him and Srikanth said his experience of playing at the highest level will help.

“I think he is somebody who has already played at that level and has won tournaments and has been on top 10. It’s always good to have somebody like him as a coach.

“He has some specific things in mind, we’re working towards it, and if everything works well, probably I will win again.”

We’re losing points in a row, need to break that: Satwik

India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy said they will need to find a way to stop conceding points in a heap, after he and his partner Chirag Shetty edged past Fang-Chih Lee and Fang-Jen Lee of Chinese Taipei to reach the second round.

“It all started with Malaysia, throughout every match we were down, that is something we have to work. Every time, we are losing 5-6 points in a row, and we need to break that rhythm from next match,” Satwik said.

“We have to talk to coach what’s happening. It happened in Malaysia and today also it happened.”

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