India’s young badminton star, Lakshya Sen had to satisfy himself with a silver, after losing out a hard-fought battle to China’s Li Shifeng in the epic final at the Youth Olympic Games. This was India’s 4th silver at the ongoing youth extravaganza in Buenos Aires.
It was a bitter pill to swallow, after what had been a promising campaign. The 17-year-old went down in two straight sets in the men’s singles badminton final. The match went on for over 47 minutes, fittingly living to its ’Final’ label.
The former junior World No.1 started the match on backfoot, with Shifeng taking an early lead. The Chinese champion raced his way to a score of 14-5, clearly demonstrating his dominance in the contest. However, his Indian counterpart was not going to give up so easily. Sen made a commendable comeback of sorts, narrowing the deficit down from 9 points to just 3 points when his scores stood at 13-16 at one point. But then, it was all Shifeng-show, as he went from 18-13 to 20-14. Although Sen did defend one match point, Shifeng claimed the next, ultimately closing off the match at 21-15. The contest was over within 17 minutes.
The second match started on a different note, with Lakshya Sen pulling the strings this time. Although the Chinese were leading all the time, Sen was not far behind. As the game went to 8-7, he showed exemplary conviction to lead by 11-14. In another interesting, development, Shifeng came back, 18-14 and then 19-14. Even though the Bengal native did give him a late scare, the game ended at 21-19.
Enroute to the match, Sen had won the semifinal against Japan’s Kodai Naraoka, which included a sensational 79-shot rally between the two Asians. Here is a small clip of the match.
— Olympic Channel (@olympicchannel) October 11, 2018
Lakshya Sen’s silver medal win took India’s total tally at the 2018 Youth Olympics to seven medals this year. Also, Sen became the second Indian shuttler to win a silver at the event in 8 years. HS Prannoy, another Indian badminton star, had achieved the feat back in 2010.
After the match, Sen also thanked Prakash Padukone, the founder of Prakash Padukone Academy, after winning the grey metal.
I realise how fortunate I am to receive so much support from a young age from Prakash Sir, Vimal Sir, Prakash Padukone Academy, @BAI_Media @Media_SAI @OGQ_India and so many others. I will work hard and continue to do well. Thanks for all the good wishes pic.twitter.com/cov1SdvqIk
— Lakshya Sen (@lakshya_sen) October 13, 2018