India’s Lakshya Sen has finally been able to win his first medal at the Badminton World Junior Championships. He was able to succeed in his third attempt after losing to top-seed Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn in the semifinals.
The 17-year-old Indian won a first game 22-20 but then went on to lose the next two 16-21 and 13-21, eventually conceding the match after an hour and 11 minutes.
The Indian had earlier assured of at least a bronze medal when he beat Malaysia’s Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin.
India’s rising badminton starlet Lakshya Sen had made it sure of his first World Junior Badminton Championships medal after he reached the semifinals of the competition in Markham, Canada. The 17-year-old shuttler overcame unseeded Malaysia’s Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin in straight sets of 21-8, 21-18 to book progress into the semifinals. This also ensures that he will return with at least a bronze medal in the prestigious competition.
The fourth-seeded Indian had been very dominant throughout the tournament thus far, only losing once so far. He seems to be in real form after clinching a silver in the Youth Olympics last month. In the last, the four matches that the young prodigy has played, only ninth-seed Chen Shiau Cheng of Chinese Taipei was able to get the better of him in the fourth round.
Against Aidil Sholeh Ali Sadikin of Malaysia though, the Indian started out strongly, clinching the first game with relative ease. He was able to win the first set by a 21-8 margin. However, Sadikin made a strong comeback in the second half set, giving Sen a tough fight. Nevertheless, he was always in total control, and eventually rounded up the contest at 21-18.
Lakshya will now have to surpass the top-seeded and the defending champion in Kunlavut Vitidsarn in the semifinals. This will not be the first meeting between the two shuttlers. They have faced each other earlier once in the Asian Junior Championships finals. It was Lakshya who had come out on the top in the finale.
Elsewhere, in the men’s singles semi-final, it will be third seed Li Shifeng of China and Japan’s Kodai Naraoka who will fight it out to book a place in the finals of the competition.
Disappointment for India
Sen is the only Indian to feature in the semifinals after men’s doubles pair of Vishnu Vardhan Goud and Srikrishna Sai Kumar Podile were summoned for a disappointing 11-21, 8-21 defeat by Korea’s 10th seed duo of Tae Yang Shin and Chan Wang.
Other Indians to bow out of the tournament were Priyanshu Rajawat, Alap Mishra and Kiran George who lost out in the third round of men’s singles event. Also returning back home were Malvika Bansod and Gayatri Gopichand, who was ousted in the opening and second rounds of the women’s singles competition respectively.
Accompanying them was eighth seed Purva Barve, who was defeated in the third round.
As a result, Saina Nehwal still remains India’s only gold medallist in the World Junior Championships. She won the prestigious title at the competition’s 2008 edition at Pune.
Earlier this year, Lakshya Sen had won a silver medal in the men’s singles at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. He had dishearteningly lost out the final to Li Shifeng in a contest that had lasted for over 42 minutes. As an compensation though, Sen earned himself a gold medal in the mixed team event (which was not counted as it is played in association with other nations). In the finals, Lakshya was part of the Team ‘Alpha’ that beat Team ‘Omega’ by 110-106 to pocket the gold medal.
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