Mumbai, Dec 23: His excellent display in the Rio Olympic Games in August, where he became the second Indian male shuttler to reach the singles quarter finals, was termed as the high point of this year by world no. 15 Kidambi Srikanth on Thursday (Dec 22).
"It was a pretty decent year for me, there were many ups and downs. I had a very good Olympics and a bad injury after that. I was very happy with the way I played in the Olympics; It was a close match, even though I lost in the quarter finals (to Chinese great Lin Dan," said Srikanth during a media interaction here.
Srikanth, who reached a career-high ranking of no. 3 just before the Rio Olympic Games in August, said although he did have his chances to win against the Chinese two-time Olympic Champion, he was satisfied that he fought till the end.
"Definitely yes (was disappointed). A win would have completely changed my whole image, but at the same time I was happy that I fought till the end. The Olympics was the highlight of my year," said the 23-year-old from Hyderabad.
Srikanth, laid low by an ankle injury later, said he was still recovering from it and was hoping he will be fit again before the commencement of the Premier Badminton League in the New Year.
"I am recovering from injury and will be fit by the time the league starts," he said.
His senior India teammate and 2012 London Olympic Games quarter finalist, Parupalli Kashyap, said he was happy that he has got back on court after recovering from his injury that put paid to his hopes of qualifying for Rio.
"I am just happy to be playing right now. The last tournament I played, I reached the semi-finals of the Korea Masters which was really an encouraging result. It gave me a lot of confidence," said the 30-year-old, also from Hyderabad.
"I started playing tournaments from September end. In the 4-5 tournaments that I played I could not clear the second day and was struggling with match play. Finally, I hit form in the last tournament (in Korea), thanks to (chief national coach) Gopi(chand) sir's training in the last few months," said the former top-10 player.
Kashyap, ranked a lowly 64 currently, said he wanted to focus on the year ahead and not constantly rue over what happened this year.
"I have everything to look forward to next year and not really think about what happened this year. I have discussed enough about it," he said.
"I want to get into the All England (tournament), but I don't know whether I will make it and the World Championship. That also I am not sure whether I have enough tournaments to make it. This is the immediate goal. This year has taught me that I don't look ahead a lot," Kashyap said.
He felt that the fierce competition at the national level was good for the players and the game as a whole.
"I feel there are more positives than negatives for us. It makes it more competitive and interesting and we are always on our toes, working hard. It makes it tougher for the coach.
"This is the way forward for Indian badminton. There should be a lot of players. The girls are beating us in results but in numbers we are beating them hands down. So, surely we will get the results also," he added.
Asked what was the next level he was targeting for Indian badminton, chief national coach Gopichand said it was medals at the Olympic Games and World Championships as well as regular titles at the Super Series tournaments.
"When I say next level, it's about winning an Olympic medal, a World Championship medal. Every two-three Super Series you go (to play), you have one winner from India every year," said Gopichand.
According to the national coach, the upcoming Premier Badminton League will help the players to test themselves ahead of the intense season ahead.
"PBL can work as a testing ground and also the format is shorter. It should work well for us. It helps to gauge yourself and to keep training as well. It's a good platform."