NEW DELHI: Lakshya Sen is on top of the world these days. The 20- yearold shuttler from Almora, in Uttarakhand, broke the glass ceiling when he was ranked 7th in the latest rankings of the International Badminton Federation (IBF). With this, he became the highest ranked badminton player in India.
Best year so far
The year 2022 has been the best year in Lakshya’s career. He entered the final of the All England Open in March, a feat achieved by only two other Indians – Prakash Padukone and Gopichand. He also made it to the German Open final and became the youngest Indian to win Gold at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, held from July 28 to August 8 this year. His journey from the tranquil enviorns of Almora to being a worldbeater is nothing short of a fairly-tale.
At an age when most youngsters are content to hang around and have a good time, Lakshya eats, sleeps and dreams about badminton. His life revolves solely around the game. “I don’t have time for anything else, except badminton. All the time I am thinking of improving my game,” he told Blitz India.
Initially, Lakshya was into every sport. He tried his hands at cricket, hockey, tennis and badminton; majorly hockey. Being fleet-footed, he found his bearings in hockey and even got himself enrolled at a local coaching centre, when he was eight. But then an incident changed his life. One day his father DK Sen, a badminton coach, took Lakshya with him to the badminton courts as Chirag was down with fever that day. And with that started Lakshya’s tryst with badminton!
Lakshya got hooked on to the game and started making his presence felt at the local level. He won many juniorlevel tournaments. Such was his talent that his father found something “‘rare” in him and decided to get him the best coaching. But he was faced with a predicament – to shift the nine-yearold Lakshya to the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy in Bengaluru was a tall order as the boy had rarely been out of Uttrakhand and was bound to get homesick.
Shift to Bengaluru
Finally, he did shift Lakshya to Bengaluru and to ensure that all goes well, he got his elder son Chirag also enrolled in the same academy. “The decision to send Lakshya and Chirag to Padukone Academy was a game-changer as Lakshya needed the expertise of Prakash and Vimal Kumar to take his game to the next level. I am happy that I could take that decision at that time,” he said. Once at the Padukone Academy, Lakshya’s performance took off. He went on to win the Asian Junior Championships and was a semi-finalist at the Junior World Championships in 2015. Thereafter, he moved on to the senior level where he was quick to make his mark.
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