A few days ago innumerable sports enthusiasts were plunged into deep disappointment. This came about after the Indian cricket team suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Pakistan in the finals of the ICC Championship Trophy 2017. The loss was a massive blow to the country’s morale, as cricket is one of the most popular sports in the nation.

Fortunately though, it is not the only sport held dear to Indians.

The Indian Hockey team’s comprehensive win (7-1) against Pakistan in the Hockey World League semi-final and Kidambi Srikanth’s stunning victories in the Indonesian and Australian Open Men’s Singles Trophies brought solace to the dampened spirits to a great extent. Kidambi Srikanth is an ace shuttler from the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.

He first brought laurels to the country when he clinched the China Open Super Series Premier title with his stellar performance at Jakarta. This resulted in him becoming the first Indian male to win a Super Series title. Saina Nehwal is the only other Indian badminton player to have won before, and she managed to achieve this feat not once but three times. On his way to the summit clash Kidambi Srikanth defeated world number one, San Wan Ho of Korea, 21-15, 14-21, 24- 22 in the semi-final.

This win was shortly followed by his Australian Open title. Kidambi Srikanth thus became a national hero after having reached three consecutive finals.

Further, he became the first Indian to win two Super Series titles. What is even more impressive is that he achieved this feat in just 7 days. On Saturday, 24 June, Srikanth beat Chen Long in straight sets (22-20, 21-16) to secure the Australian Open in Sydney. He is currently ranked as the world number 11, but this win will certainly take him into the top 10 of the world. Srikanth, a disciple of Gopichand badminton academy was terribly upset when he failed to reach the semi finals at the Rio Olympics.

Previously, in Singapore he lost the final to his fellow national Sai Praneeth. However his last two tournaments have been very different. In Jakarta, Srikant wrapped up the final match in merely 37 minutes defeating Kazumasa Sakai who is ranked 47th and is from Japan. He did this in straight sets 21-11, 21-19.

The same brilliance was showcased at his final in Sydney against Chen Long, making it Srikanth’s very first win over Long who holds the rank of world number 4. Srikant showcased aggression, formidable returns, perfect smashes and neat net dribbles in the playing arena and left his formidable opponents bewildered. Srikanth showcased excellent sportsmanship when he said, “I lost in Singapore but those losses ensured I sit here today a winner in Indonesia”.

His comment is at par with the age old adage “Failure is the pillar of success”.

Coordinator, Class X, St Vincent's High and Technical School Inputs: Jayanti Jha, ex-Vasant Valley School, New Delhi