Lakshya Sen created history by becoming the first Indian to win a men‘s singles title on tournament debut when he defeated Singaporean world champion Loh Kean Yew 24-22, 21-17 in a thrilling final India Open 2022.
Euphoric after his sensational victory, Lakshya, who trains at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy, shared details about his journey in an interview with India Ahead. “In 2011, I shifted to Bengaluru where Prakash Padukone sir has been a great support. I knew it would be a cut-throat match against the world champion but it was easy,” he said.
“The junior circuit was a bit different but, coming into the senior circuit, it’s a whole different world. There are a lot of things I did being the top junior. Being in the senior circuit, it is difficult to get into the top 30 but, I think, I managed that with the support of my coaches and my self-belief,” he added.
Born on August 16, 2001, Lakshya comes from a badminton family. His father DK Sen is a coach while his brother Chirag Sen is also an international badminton player.
The India Open 2022 win is his first Super 500 title. In 2021, he reached the BWF World Championships semifinal where he lost to Srikanth Kidambi in a hard-fought match, and settled for a bronze medal.
The youngster showed his talent at the junior badminton circuit in 2016. He became the number one junior singles player in Badminton World Championship (BWF) Junior, in February 2017.
“I have always kept myself motivated, I am still learning. The beginning was tough. The future may be challenging, ups-downs may occur but it doesn’t matter. I will get there,” he asserted confidently.
“In 2019, I played a lot of tournaments. I was playing with different players. I think that helped me improve myself, by playing different opponents and winning. After the last six months, I improved a lot in the rankings,” he stated.
Lakshya claimed his fourth title in 2019 at the Scottish Open, with a victory against Brazilian Ygor Coelho in the men’s singles summit clash.
On being questioned about failures, Lakshya said “This time, I had a good game plan in my mind. We have to learn from every experience. Last season, I played against good, tough players. Some matches gave me a reality check. I feel that I can step in and play against the best players.”
He had also emerged as the champion at the 2018 Asian Junior Championships. He later clinched his maiden BWF World Tour title by winning the Dutch Open men’s singles title after beating Yusuke Onodera of Japan. Lakshya also competed at the senior international level and won the men’s singles title at the 2016 India International Series tournament.
He settled for the boys’ singles silver medal after losing to Chinese player Li Shifeng in straight games 15–21, 19–21. He competed in the mixed team event and helped Team Alpha win the gold medal.
His eyes are now on the prestigious All England Open Badminton Championships in March 2022 followed by the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. “I’ll try to win more and more medals,” he asserted.