Resurgent Kidambi Srikanth is one step closer to a world podium for the championship:
A World Championship that has inadvertently produced physical, one-dimensional tight-controlled automaton-based games for men’s singles is now experiencing a mix of has-beens daisy-fresh newcomers and people who are just beginning their journey find their way amid a dim sum.
The most famous names: Momota, Axelsen, Chen Long, Shi Yuqi, Chou Tien Chen, those who have made mistakes that you can count with one hand in their professional days, who hate mistakes made by a shuttle that is lost, or those whose perfection is tucked in the bird, as they were chanting a mantra None of them made it to the finals on Thursday.
Most of them did not turn on the final day of the physically burned and tiring season.
There’s been a variety of players with some whose gorgeous, unique, dedicated reserve, exuberant, young, and exciting games could not be this far into the competition and compete for the international medals.
The World Championships dwarf the Olympics in 2021. But what’s bloomed unexpectedly are games nursed bashfully with passion and care that aren’t always setting pre-conditions of commando-level run-till-you-drop-dead fitness.
As in Kidambi Srikanth against Mark Caljouw, one of those who will walk away from Huelva with the World’s medal.
Srikanth is a genuine world-class player. He demonstrated this to Lu GuangZ by winning a 21-10 defeat of 21-15 in the pre-quarters.
He was the World’s No.1 for a week and was a Super Series superstar of yore. Circa 2017.
The title is more than his win percentage; the title is a recalculation of the number of missed chances and a blinding gap in the 2021 Olympic qualification.
The Srikanth cage game required an opening platform, a jolt of luck, and confirmation of his success.
Kidambi Srikanth is the most-watched Indian badminton player when he sings. His leap smashes his
next ups on the net, his Elvis Presley dancing defense off the body, his stunningly carved rallies that are stories in themselves. His passion for courtcraft.
All of this makes him a fascinating athlete to watch, except that early departures caused him to miss his headline performances often.
Then, suddenly and with a bit of luck, Srikanth can be found in the top quartile of the Worlds with the itch of a gold medal.
He’s laid on his head since the beginning of the year, right when he could not get Tokyo qualifying, and afterward appearing to be enjoying the sport once again.
In most instances, it’s been about the slow shuttles and his offensive game not adjusting to the boring rigors of retrieves.
His knee was slightly shaky, and he also swung his rapid bursts. Now, reenergized, Srikanth looks ready to transform his talent into medals.
The player across the court from him to him was Mark Caljouw, a Dutchman diagnosed with Arterial fibrillation, in which his heartbeats could be as fast as 250 per minute.
A few months ago, a heart operation slowed their heart rate while he struggled to play a sport he was passionate about.
After guiding his brothers through the games in the backyard of the shuttle, Caljouw has left behind an active social life to dedicate his young life to this elusive spot.
He’s a scrambler which is hard at work, in the net, and hitting shuttles more than many. However, he’s a bit unpopular against Srikanth. However, he’ll keep his fighting spirit until the final winner.
Both players hail from countries that have great role models in the game. Caljouw was a great Mia Audina. Srikanth has seen Saina Nehwal as well as PV Sindhu perform at the top levels.
But, as with Bao Chunlai of China or Boonsak Ponsana in Thailand, Srikanth and Caljouw’s matches will be remembered for the moments of pure magic on the court.
The two artists who create beautiful drawings with their unique strokes will be fighting for a guaranteed medal.
Perhaps the field is depleted, but some quiet ones are ready to let loose the cheer.