Generation next  makes heads turn

As the revamped badminton nationals came to an end on Wednesday, there were expected results.

Published: 09th November 2017 02:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th November 2017 08:50 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

NAGPUR: As the revamped badminton nationals came to an end on Wednesday, there were expected results. All the major players across all categories made it to the finals. While the stars hogged the limelight, some of the next generation of players made a mark too.

Lakshya Sen has been touted as the next big thing in Indian badminton since the start of this year, when he topped the junior world rankings. The 16-year-old from Uttarakhand is gradually making the transition into the senior level. In the last nationals, he had reached the final. This year, his run ended in the semifinal against Kidambi Srikanth, in a match where he impressed with his range of shots.

Lakshya Sen (L) with brother
Chirag Sen

“I played Srikanth bhaiya for the first time. But I wasn’t nervous. It was just another match for me. I need to work on physical strength and improve on longer rallies,” said Lakshya, whose favourite player is China’s Chen Long.

Though he lost, Lakshya had done enough to impress Srikanth, the World No 2, who said, “There are many good players in the junior level. It’s good to play against them and experience the next level of competition.”

Lakshya’s elder brother Chirag is also among the up and coming lot and gave HS Prannoy a tough time in the pre-quarters before losing 7-21, 22-20, 15-21. Asked to assess his opponent’s performance, Prannoy told Express, “There’s no doubt these players have been playing well. However, to succeed at the international level, they will have to learn to play tough matches regularly. In the junior level, they get used to scoring easily. They have to play as many international events as possible, to get acclimatised to different conditions.”

While India is still looking for a doubles pair that could emulate the achievements of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, a women’s pair competing for the first time at the senior level reached the semis. Rituparna Panda (18) and Mithula UK (17) from the Pullela Gopichand Academy were part of the squad at the World Junior Championship last month. In Nagpur, they were humbled by the much-experienced duo of Sanyogita Ghorpade and Prajakta Sawant in three games.

“There is not much scope for badminton in Odisha. So I decided to move to Hyderabad, in February. A month later, Mithula too came in. The coaches guided us to pair up and I am satisfied with my performance till now,” said the 18-year-old Rituparna. Airports Authority of India (AAI) coach BS Bisht was of the opinion that when juniors are roped in by institutions (PSPB, AAI, AI), it gives them confidence. It can be assumed that the youngsters will also grab more attention as the days go by.

New kids
Men’s singles: Lakshya Sen, Chirag Sen (both Uttarakhand)
Women’s doubles: Rituparna Panda & Mithula UK (both Odisha)

Stay up to date on all the latest Sport news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.