New Delhi (India) (AFP) – Kidambi Srikanth on Thursday became the first Indian to reach number one in the men’s world badminton rankings, surpassing Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen on his rise to the top.
The 25-year-old this week defeated three-time Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei in the mixed team final to earn India their first-ever Commonwealth Games gold in the event.
“Absolutely thrilled to be ranked WORLD NUMBER 1,” Srikanth posted on his official Twitter account.
“I would like to thank my coach Gopi (Pullela Gopichand) Sir for believing in me and my support staff for always taking care of me.”
He is not the first Indian to become the world’s best, with Saina Nehwal topping the women’s chart in 2015.
Srikanth was the first Indian to win four SuperSeries world tour titles in a year in 2017, earning him crucial ranking points over close competitor Axelsen who is recovering from a foot injury.
Badminton legend Prakash Padukone — the first Indian to win the All England men’s title in 1980 — was widely regarded as the best during his time when the ranking system was not yet in place.