HYDERABAD : PV Sindhu. Kidambi Srikanth. Saina Nehwal.Whenever an Indian wins big on the international stage, it is quite safe to assume that it could be anyone from the three. Few other Indian shuttlers like HS Prannoy and B Sai Praneeth have produced good results, albeit rarely. There is one more Indian name that has been stamping his authority on the international platform of late: 17-year-old Lakshya Sen.
In his latest incident of triumph — a month after his silver at Youth Olympics — the teenager clinched bronze at the World Junior Badminton Championship in Markham (Canada) on Saturday.Although he lost 22-20, 16-21, 13-21 to junior No 1 Kunlavut Vitidsarn (Thailand) in the semifinal, his run was enough to grant him a third-place finish. In doing so, he ended India’s seven-year wait for a medal at the event. Sameer Verma had done won bronze in 2011.
Speaking to this daily, Lakshya stressed that “mistakes during crucial stages” cost him the game. “After winning the first game, I committed a few mistakes during some crucial moments. Otherwise, I could have beaten him.”His excellent record at the junior level notwithstanding, the Uttarakhand youngster has been itching to do the same at the senior level. Veteran coach Vimal Kumar has also been showing Lakshya the way for years.
Kumar believes that Lakshya’s training needs to be handled carefully. “When it comes to stroke-play and technique, he has the requisite attributes to challenge some of the good senior players. But he needs to scale up body strength and endurance. It is crucial to design his training regime in such a way that there is no rush.”
Lakshya has also been a little injury-prone, with his shin and shoulders giving him trouble in recent past. Even with these niggles, he has shown signs of being a future prospect. At last year’s nationals, he had given Srikanth a run for his money.When asked if he has been improving his strength, Lakshya said: “I think I am getting better after each tournament.”
The coach took the example of players from the far east to highlight the importance of strength. “Their calf muscles strengthen at a very young age. Shuttlers like Lakshya have to work to build that kind of power. And there is time. He is just 17 and still growing.”Lakshya will next be seen in action at Tata Open India International Challenge, a senior-level tournament.
No Sindhu in Syed Modi
Defending champion PV Sindhu has decided to skip Syed Modi Grand Prix to focus on next month’s BWF World Tour Final in China. She is fifth in the ‘Race to Guangzhou’ ranking to qualify for the $1,500,000 World Tour Final, which will be held in the Chinese city from December 12-16. “Sindhu has written to BAI asking them to allow her to skip Modi so that she can focus on the World Tour Finals,” said Sindhu’s father PV Ramana.