Parupalli Kashyap, who became the first Indian shuttler to reach the quarter-finals of the Olympics Games, has said he draws inspiration from London Games bronze medallist Saina Nehwal. Kashyap, who received the Arjuna Award in a glittering ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on Wednesday, also said he is aiming to break into the top-15 of world badminton ranking by the end of this year.
"Saina is my inspiration. The coach and Saina have inspired me a lot. She has paved the way for taking on the Chinese. My whole outlook has changed and I am not afraid of taking on Chinese shuttlers now," said Kashyap.
Kashyap, who lost his London Olympics quarter-final match against World number two Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, said the Arjuna Award will inspire him to do well in China and Japan Open next month.
"I'll be going to China and Japan in September and my goal is to reach the top 15 in the world by this year. I want to participate in the Super Series events but for that I would have to be in the top eight, that is a bit difficult," he said.
The World No 19 said he needs to improve his fitness to reach the top of the rankings.
"I lack fitness and that's one area where I have to work hard. Also I have to work on my tactical game."
Kashyap felt that the game required more funding to grow in the country.
"More funding is required for Indian badminton to reach the level where China is today. More juniors in the circuit would take the sport to the next level," he said.
Asked about his London experience, Kashyap said, "I have learnt one thing that ranking does not matter. You can beat anyone if you have the belief. You could make a strong player look like another player."
Meanwhile, women's doubles player Ashwini Ponappa, who also received the Arjuna Award, said that she is looking forward to do well in World Championship and All England tournament next year.