Lakshya Sen's journey to Badminton glory: A tale of discipline and passion inspired by his father

Badminton player Lakshya Sen and his father, former coach DK Sen, have much in common, the most evident being their love for badminton. Ahead of Father’s Day, the duo speaks their hearts out...
Lakshya Sen
Lakshya Sen

BENGALURU: Indian shuttler Lakshya Sen’s glory, each and every time he represents India, has been a proud moment for his countrymen. But cheering him on more than anyone else is his father DK Sen. Sen senior, who was Lakshya’s first coach, also turned out to be one of the main reasons why Lakshya got interested in badminton. “I have seen my grandfather and father play. That sort of automatically got me inclined toward the sport,” says Lakshya, who is looking forward to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The 22-year-old recalls his father being a strict disciplinarian. “At the training centre as a coach, he was always very strict. From the very beginning, he made sure that a sense of discipline was inculcated in everyone,” recalls Lakshya. Not surprisingly, being disciplined was his first key learning from his father. He adds, “Neither my brother, Chirag Sen, nor I, could flout rules. There was no getting away from not being serious about training.”

There are many other aspects that Lakshya has learnt from his father, but if there is one quality he wants to imbibe and replicate in his life, it would be the undying passion for badminton. “Dad’s passion for this sport is unmatchable. He has been coaching for nearly four decades and still wakes up at 5-5.30am. Whenever we are training, he’s always there, and is the first one to come and the last to leave the stadium,” says Lakshya. He also adds, “He is one of my biggest support systems. Any time I win, he is the happiest person. And if I lose, he becomes sad and emotional.”

Back in 2018, it was not the easiest decision for Sen, one of the country’s most respected badminton coaches, to leave the terrains of Almora and take voluntary retirement from the Sports Authority of India (SAI). The decision was to help Lakshya start his career in the city.

“It was a decision that had to be taken for the future of Lakshya and Chirag. The decision didn’t come easy since it was also our hometown. Even their mother, who was a teacher by profession, took voluntary retirement. It is a very strenuous profession for which you need good food and rest. A sportsman needs a healthy environment, both mentally and physically, to grow,” explains Sen, adding that he is lucky that Lakshya is self-regulated so he does not have to be ‘strict’ with him.

Playing the role of both father and coach can be tricky, but Sen deals with it in a straightforward manner. “They are also growing up and have their own circle of friends. We should also give them their space. If we start interfering in everything, they will start rebelling. There will be disagreements but those are normal in every household. There is nothing that a healthy discussion at a dinner table can’t solve,” signs off Sen.

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