Lakshya Sen is an Indian badminton player who chiefly competes in the singles category. Sen was born in Uttarakhand’s city of Almora in a badminton family. Sen first came to prominence in 2016, where he had a successful junior badminton circuit. The following year, he became the No.1 in the BWF World Junior ranking. Lakshya clinched that feat in 2018 when he became the champion at the 2018 Asian Junior Championships after defeating the top-seeded World No. 1 Kunlavut Vitidsarn in the final. Sen has time and again, demonstrated sparks that he could be India’s next World No. 1 after Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand.
|Full Name||Lakshya Sen|
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.79 m)|
|Age||17 years (16th August 2001)|
|World Ranking (Current)||91 (as of 2018)|
|Career Wins||98 (as of 10/2018)|
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Lakshya Sen always had the ‘shuttler genes’ in his blood. His father, Mr D K Sen, is a national coach whereas his brother, Chirag Sen, is a renowned international badminton player. Lakshya was always intrigued by the sport that his father and sibling already played so much. As a result, whenever his father would take Chirag to the Union Bank Sub-Junior tournament, the youngest of the Sen member would convince him to accompany.
The aspiring young shuttlers swear by the competition since it is a platform where Vimal Kumar, director at the Prakash Padukone Academy, scouts his next pupils.
Chirag won the U-13 title with relative ease, boosting his chances of a admission in one of India’s most revered badminton academies. Watching his brother play, Lakshya got seriously inspired. Before he knew, he straightaway asked Vimal if he could play at the academy too.
A bemused Vimal gave the youngster, who had not even aged in double digits, a chance to prove himself in the form of a trial.
What impressed Vimal and Prakash Padukone about the gritty youngster was how he took winning in badminton seriously. In a recent interview, Kumar revealed how Sen used to cry after even a single defeat.
He was instantly picked by the coaches along with Chirag. After coming under the aegis of the Prakash Padukone Academy, the youngster’s badminton journey took off instantly.
Over the next 6 years, Sen went won the U-13, U-17 and U-19 National tournaments among other international competitions in the same age group comfortably. What was surprising was that he was just aged 15 when he achieved the U-19 National Medal. Clearly, the hopes were high. Performing well in the Juniors is a daunting task, considering age-cheating is so rampant in the country. But nothing could hold the young Lakshya back, who, as his name goes, was ‘focussed’ on his target.
As he spent more time at the academy, his game began to evolve and he started to develop new skills. Gone was the boy who would cry vehemently after every defeat. Lakshya became more mature and calm. Playing at Padukone’s academy did give Sen some of his mentor’s traits. For starters, he is strong at the nets from where he controls the proceedings pretty well, just like Prakash in his playing days. Although, he has many traits that are unique. For example, he has a decent hit, a property which was not as evident in Prakash. He uses immense smashing power to take his opponent by surprise.
— Lakshya Sen (@lakshya_sen) August 11, 2018
Also, having grown up in the hilly terrains of the mighty Himalayas, Lakshya has been bestowed upon with the gift of strong legs and bellow-like lungs. (Almora, the city where he was born and grew up is over 5,000 feet above sea level.) As a result, he has developed speed and stamina that allows him to slog for extensive hours without showing even a hint of fatigue.
Add to that his immense presence. He stands at 5’10’’, and being just 17, he still has room to reach the 6 feet mark, which is an excellent height for badminton players.
2016 was a brilliant year for the youngster. He first won the bronze medal at the Asian Junior Championships, where he noteworthily defeated the juniors World No. 1 in Thailand. However, he eventually lost out to China’s Sun Feixiang.
The later again summoned Sen at the World Junior Championships in Spain. Nonetheless, even though he lost at the junior-level, he more than made amends for it by winning a medal in the senior-level. The event was the All-India Senior Championships in Itanagar.
That was followed by another phenomenal feat when Sen won his first international medal at the senior level in the form of Sats India International Series in Hyderabad.
2017 was an eventful year for the teenager, as he added many titles to his name.
He won the prestigious India International Series and the Eurasian Bulgarian Open, both of which are BWF International Challenge/Series. Sen was also a runner-up at the Tata Open International.
However, it was 2018 that proved to be a landmark year for him. It was this year that he claimed the ultimate honour – the Asian Junior Championship title. Sen defeated World No. 1, Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn in the finals to clinch the coveted title. Consequently, he became only the second Indian after Gautam Thakkar in 1965 and PV Sindhu in 2012 to reach the heights.
Congratulations to Shifeng Li for the @YOG2018 Gold Medal.. he played an excellent match. I hope we play many more matches against each other. Personally, I am disappointed with my performance in the finals but had an amazing experience at the #YouthOlympics pic.twitter.com/FK355LfvUx
— Lakshya Sen (@lakshya_sen) October 13, 2018
Then, at the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympics, the youngster went on until the finals of the men’s singles. However, he was defeated in the finale by China’s Li Chifeng. Nevertheless, by clinching the silver, he became the first Indian shuttler to win a medal in the Youth Olympics.
Lakshya Sen was born to Dhirendra K. Sen and Nirmala Sen in the Almora city of Uttarakhand. Dhirendra is a national badminton coach at the Sports Authority of India (SAI). Nirmala is a school teacher.
Lakshya’s elder brother, Chirag Sen, is also an international badminton player. Chirag is ranked at 236 by BWF in the men’s singles event.
According to BWF’s official website, Lakshya Sen pocketed $ 4,834 over his brief career.
In the 2018 Premier Badminton League Auction, Lakshya Sen was bought by the PBL debutants, Pune 7 Aces for ₹ 11 lakhs. Pune 7 Aces is a Tapsee Pannu co-owned team and is headlined by World Champions Carolina Marin and Chris Addock. It is thus expected that playing alongside some of the biggest names in badminton would help to further sharpen the game of Sen and other prodigies like him.
Bronze at the 2016 Asia Juniors Championships
Gold at the 2016 India International Series
Silver at the 2017 Tata Open India International
Gold at the 2017 India International Series
Gold at the 2017 Eurasian Bulgarian Open
Silver at the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympics
Gold at the 2018 Asian Junior Championships, Bangkok
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