NEW DELHI, April 12: Kidambi Srikanth today became the first Indian male shuttler to achieve the world number one ranking in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) chart released today.
Legendary Prakash Padukone was revered as the world number one player during his hey days before the modern day computerised ranking system was introduced.
Srikanth thus became only the second Indian after Saina Nehwal, who had occupied the women’s top spot in 2015, to achieve the feat, following his consistent run last year, when he won four titles to be also bestowed with the Padma Shri award.
“I’m definitely delighted to have achieved the World No. 1 ranking for the first time, and to become the first Indian man after Prakash sir to achieve this,” said Srikanth, who trains at the Gopichand Academy.
“It’s a testament to the hard work of Gopi sir, my family, my other coaches and support staff, my team GoSports Foundation, my sponsors, and everyone else who has believed in me over the years.”
Srikanth’s meteoric rise coincided with world champion Viktor Axelsen’s injury lay-off as the Danish star, forced to spend time off the court, slipped one place to second spot after failing to defend his Malaysia Open title that he had clinched in April last year.
After retiring from Indonesia Masters in January due to an ankle injury, Axelsen was forced to withdraw from India Open, the All England Championship, the European Championships as he had to undergo surgery on his foot. – PTI