Holi is over but the sports enthusiasts in the country are still in a very festive mood. And why not? World Championship medalist and India’s star shuttle Lakshya Sen is all set for a super Sunday showdown with the world’s number 1 Denmark. Victor Axelsen in the men’s singles final at the prestigious All England Open Badminton Championships. Only two Indians have won this title before and it has been more than two decades since Pullela Gopichand last won it in 2001. Lakshya won his semi-final against Malaysian defending champion Lee Zii Jia 21-13 12-21 21-19, in Birmingham on Saturday, to give us its first All England final.
Here are a few things you should know about the latest Indian badminton sensation:
- Lakshya comes from a family of shuttlers. His grandfather Chandra Lal Sen played the sport and his father DK Sen is a renowned coach in the Indian Badminton Association. Lakshya’s older brother Chirag was a national rank holder in U-13 age group badminton.
- He is a former world junior No. 1 and was born and raised in the hill town of Almora, Uttarakhand.
- Lakshya was only nine and a half years old when he went to Bangalore and played under the watchful eye of legendary player Prakash Padukone.
- Later, in the year 2017, at the age of 15, Lakshya broke the record of the youngest Indian to reach the final of the national men’s singles.
- He also took the number one position as a junior singles player in the BWF World Junior rankings in February 2017.
- Another big breakthrough in Sen’s career came when he won the silver medal for boys’ singles at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics. He lost the final to China’s Li Shifeng.
- His greatest achievement to date is winning the bronze medal at the World Championships in 2021. He had lost the semi-final to Srikanth Kidambi of India 21-17, 14-21, 17-21.
- Earlier this year, Lakshya became only the third Indian male shuttler to win the India Open singles title.
- When he reached the All England final on Saturday, after Prakash Nath, Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand, he became only the fourth player in men’s singles to reach the final. Saina Nehwal had reached the women’s singles final in 2015, but lost in the final to Spain’s Carolina Marin.
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