Teenage shuttler Lakshya Sen eager to join the big league
Sixteen-year old Lakshya Sen has shown an early spark in international badminton after stretching legendary Lin Dan to three games recently at the New Zealand Open. The good performance in Australia and New Zealand earned him a berth in the Thomas Cup starting on Sunday.
It is an opportunity the teenager is looking forward to, exuding confidence in taking on the big guns of world badminton. A trainee of the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy in Bangalore, Lakshya has been groomed under Padukone and former national coach Vimal Kumar. Since he chose to follow the footsteps of elder brother Chirag, Lakshya has made steady progress, becoming junior world No 1 in 2017 and finishing runner-up in the Senior National Championships, losing to an established Sourabh Verma.
While several juniors find the shift to top level difficult, Lakshya has been making a smooth transition while playing at the Grand Prix level international events this year. “We are happy with his progress, specially the way he played in the two tournaments. It shows he is on the right track. There are lots of positives. He now needs more exposure at the international level,” says Vimal.
Thomas Cup hopes
Lakshya is eager to play a role in Thomas Cup. “This is one tournament I wanted to be part of since childhood. I have been following Thomas Cup for the last five years and it is a dream come true to be part of the Indian squad,” said Lakshya, currently world No 99.
India have drawn top seeds China, France and Australia in Group A. With world No 3 Kidambi Srikanth missing from the lineup and three singles to be played in a tie, Lakshya could well get a look in. With an all-round game, Lakshya is eager to prove himself in the big league. “The game against Lin Dan has given me a lot of confidence. I was little nervous before the match, but once it started I was focussed. I got into a good rhythm and went with the flow. I have to work on my endurance and game. I am playing at a good level and with little more experience, I will be able to convert such matches in my favour.”
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