Kidambi Srikanth, an Indian badminton player, has hired Indonesian coach Wiempie Mahardi to help him regain his form ahead of the Paris Olympics next year. Srikanth has been struggling with form lately, and his association with Mahardi is expected to help him regain his lost form. Mahardi has over ten years of coaching experience and has trained players in different clubs across countries.
Srikanth had been trying to get a coach since December 2021 when his previous coach Agus Dwi Santoso left. Although he tried to get a coach through TOPS, it did not work out. In January, he sent a proposal to SAI to get a coach, but it has been on hold since then. Since the Olympic qualification period began in May, he decided to hire a coach himself.
Mahardi and Srikanth met when Srikanth went to Indonesia for training for three weeks, and Mahardi visited India in the last week of April. Srikanth is yet to train with his new coach as he participated in the selection trials for the Asian Games. He finished at the top with six wins in as many matches to qualify for the individual events.
Srikanth had a tough 2023, managing only one quarterfinal finish in seven tournaments, which saw his ranking slip from world number 13 to 22. Srikanth had won a world championships silver in 2021 before guiding India to a historic Thomas Cup win last year. With only the top 20 players handed direct entry into the Asian Games, the 30-year-old from Guntur, ranked 22nd, had to participate in the selection trials for the first time.
Srikanth’s next challenge is the Sudirman Cup, a mixed team championship beginning in China from May 14. India has been drawn with Malaysia, Chinese Taipei, and Australia in Group C.