An up and coming Next Gen player of India, Jennifer Luikham has been under the...
Playing from the age of 9, left handed badminton doubles sensation, Sikki Reddy is an inspiration for many. Hyderabad has been the badminton capital of India, blessing the country with so many international fame players. Sikki is one of them, who in quick time has found a place in hearts of many. No success is easy to come by, at the age of 16, a knee injury took her very close to a virtual end of her career. Brushing aside her injuries, she won a bronze in CWG Games 2018 and very recently received the highest honour for any sports athlete in India - Arjuna Award.
About Singapore Open
You had a great beginning to Singapore Badminton Open 2019, winning the first two on the trot. Game against Hong Kong was tight, but the win must have been special. Against Thailand, you were very close and competitive. What’s your reaction to the tournament, and the best part about it?
I always love playing in Singapore, ya we had a pretty good tournament me and jerry were looking for a break to get some good wins. After getting the new coaches, we are playing pretty well. Jerry had a tough year as he was down with dengue and we didn’t play together for 3-4 months. We had lost some rhythm but we are pretty happy with our recent performances and especially in Singapore open 2019.
Yes, we were leading initially with the Thailand pair in both the games but, at the end somewhere we both lost the flow and gave away points continuously.
Losing makes us stronger & I look forward to rectify my mistakes and improve my game. Right now we are working on those areas.
Last one year for you
Last one year has been a fascinating one for you. Arjuna award, your father’s dream coming true, followed by your marriage with Sumeeth. How has been life after that & has things changed big time for you?
I would say the life is pretty much the same, as it was before the wedding. I knew Sumeeth from a long time and their parents are also from sports background. They are very understanding & supportive in every aspect. Arjuna Award will always be special in my life and my family. It keeps me motivated enough, to bring many more medals for the country.
What's her motivation
Coming back to the game, what’s your key motivation, which keeps you going & what do you enjoy the most about your game - doubles and mixed doubles?
I enjoy both (doubles and mixed doubles) because my job in both the events is to create opening for my partners & catch the net. We stick to our roles and support our partners accordingly. Frankly, i don’t know anything what to do in life without badminton. My life is about badminton & if I don’t play for a day, I feel like I have committed some big mistake. My motivation is to consistently perform well now in 2019 & represent the country in Olympics 2020. Really looking forward to it.
Overcoming her fear
Taking you back to the Commonwealth youth games, you went so close to Saina in the singles finals: 22-24, 19-21 & then the career threatening injury you sustained, kept you out of the game for an year plus. Had that injury not happen to you, you would have been a leading player in Singles too. How do you see that phase of life? How did you come over it and tell us how did your family managed & support you?
Yes, when I look back to those days I get really very sad. I was at my best phase of life at that time in Singles. I had to go through three surgeries on the same knee, and doctors told me that its difficult to for me to continue playing professional badminton. My family & especially my brother were always behind my back and supported me so much.
We also had financial problems, but they never step back. I tried playing singles again after the injury but at that time, I didn’t get much support from anyone to take care of my injury (like Physio, trainers, recovery session) so I had to give up playing singles and shift to doubles. If I look back, yes definitely I feel bad about giving up playing singles.
We also don’t have any commercial sponsors so we don’t have other sources of revenue, beyond our job with Indian oil corporation & equipment sponsor Yonex which is basic for every player and almost everyone will have this.
On her victories
There is no dearth of awards for you. Right from the Gold in Commonwealth, Bronze in Asian games, Japan Series, wins in Russian & Brazil open. Out of all the laurels you have received, which is the one closer to you & why?
I will say all, as each and every victory is very special to me & close to my heart.
Brazil victory was special, as we had travelled 36 hours in economy and with our own money. All those struggles are not easy to go through, so each & every victory will always be special. Initially me and jerry funded ourselves for the tournaments.
About her strength
As per your reading of the opponents and games you have played, what’s your key strength areas? And which areas do you feel can be further strengthened in this pre-Olympic year?
We have got two new coaches Flandey Limpele and Namrih Suroto who is working on us and they are pretty good. I can see a lot of improvement in our game already but we need to be more consistent and mentally strong to finish the close games. There is nothing like one area to improve we just have to keep doing keep doing that’s it. My key strength is I am a leftie & very skilful so if you teach me something then within couple of days, I will absorb it.
You train very hard, spending long time in the nets and gym. How much do you give in a day to train yourself? And What message would you like to give you the youngsters on the fitness aspects.
We train around 7-8 hours a day. Morning its 8:30 – 12:30 and evening 4:00 – 7:00. 10 sessions in a week, in that 2 sessions are gym, physical & the remaining on court. Enjoy what you doing and love every session. Eat good food and sleep 9 hours a day which helps you in recovery and you will be fresh for the next day. When your body feels good, automatically you will love what you doing.
A Balanced Diet
What’s Sikki diet all about? I am sure many of your fans would want to know.
I love home food & I miss them the most because of lots of travels. My diet is very simple – rice, chicken or fish, vegetable and dal with 1 bowl of curd or butter milk. Just try avoiding junk food. It's ok to have it once in while, but immediately after a good practice session, surely not on the off days.