Who is Lakshya Sen? 5 things to know about the youngest Indian to qualify for World Tour Finals

The Youth Olympics silver medallist is breaking through the senior ranks

By Olympic Channel Writer
Picture by Photo: Instagram/Lakshya Sen.

After an impressive junior career, Lakshya Sen is breaking through the senior ranks. The 2018 Youth Olympics silver medallist became the youngest shuttler from India to qualify for the World Tour Finals, slated to get underway from December 1.

And the 20-year-old's career graph has been on an upward curve as earlier this month he broke into the top 20 men's singles ranking for the first time.

As he continues to grow and make a name for himself on the badminton circuit, let us know more about his journey:

Lakshya Sen 

In his genes

Lakshya as he comes from a badminton family. His father D.K Sen is one of the most respected coaches on the Indian badminton circuit while his paternal grandfather used to play the sport at his hometown in Almora.

Moreover, his elder brother Chirag who was a national rank holder in U-13 age group, also had an influence on his badminton career. It was at the age of nine that Lakshya persuaded his father to take him along to the Union Bank All-India Sub-Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament in Bangalore where his brother was playing.

Trained at Prakash Padukone academy

It was after this tournament that Lakshya, along with his brother and father, met up with former national champion and coach Vimal Kumar and said that he wants to take up the sport.

And Vimal obliged to the boy's decision and signed him up for trials.

“Lakshya was just nine-and-a-half years old when he came to Bangalore. After I saw him play, I recommended him to Prakash, who left to me the decision of whether to accept him or not. Later, when he saw the boy play, he was equally impressed,” Vimal Kumar told Firstpost.

Overcame mentor Prakash Padukone's record

Later, it was at the academy, that Indian legend Padukone and Kumar observed that his intensity and desire to win set him apart. There were times in his formative years when Lakshya would sit in a corner and cry after losing a match. But he has learnt to be calm and composed with age and experience.

In 2017, Lakshya became the youngest Indian to reach the national men's singles final. He was 15 at the time and he surpassed the record set by his mentor Padukone, who was 16 when he reached the summit clash of the 1971 Indian badminton Nationals in Chennai.

Youth Olympics success

Lakshya soon shone on the international stage as well by winning silver at the 2018 Youth Olympics. The, then 17-year-old, was up against China's Shifeng Li in the boys' single final. He lost the singles final but went on to clinch a gold in mixed team event.

Lessons from Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Viktor Axelsen

Earlier this year, Lakshya got one of the best chance to add more steel to his game, as he accepted the invite from Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Viktor Axelsen to be his sparring partner at his new training base in Dubai.

The two weeks of sparring stint with Axelsen helped him learn valuable lessons.

"Lakshya was quite taken up by how diligent Viktor is, even in practice," Kumar told Espn.

"Right down to the most basic things, like the shuttle-feeding routines. You learn that to get the big things right, you have to pay attention to the little things. Viktor is by himself at a new base, managing his own training, with no federation or major support structure around him. I told Lakshya this is what being a professional really means. The experience was an eye-opener for him".

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