Indian badminton is going through a golden phase. And with young shuttlers like Lakshya Sen surging through the ranks, one can only see a better and brighter future for the game in the country. The saying, “It runs in the family” holds true for 15-year-old Lakshya who went down in the pages of history as he cemented his position at the top of the world, becoming the World Number One junior singles badminton player. Hailing from a family of badminton players, Lakshya tuned into the game at the age of five and, 10 years down the line, the youngster sits on top of the world. The teenager hailing from Almora, is also the only player from Uttarakhand to attain the numero uno position. Earlier, his brother Chirag Sen held the best record from the state after being ranked No. 2 in the world junior rankings.
Lakshya, considered the shining future star of the country, moved ahead of Chia Hao Lee of the Chinese Taipei to attain the number one spot. According to the current rankings, the Indian starlet has 16,903 points from the eight tournaments he has played this season, while Chia Hao holds the second spot with 16,091 points. The youngster who has had a brilliant year on the circuit, also won the Senior India International Series Badminton tournament along with the All India Senior Ranking badminton tournament. Lakshya is the first player from the state and the youngest one ever to win the title at the senior level. Lakshya, like many others, has played sports like cricket and football growing up, but his interest to focus on badminton as a serious sport was set from the very beginning.
Having started off at the age of five and with many laurels on the way, the youngster is elated to have toppled top players over the world to reach the pinnacle. “It is a great feeling to be ranked number one. To be ranked over top players in the world is overwhelming. I am happy with the way my game is going and thanks to the strong support of my parents and my training here (Bengaluru) at the Prakash Padukone Academy, it has helped me achieve this feat.” The teenager has shifted base to train at the academy since the age of 10 and his talent has caught the eye of Padukone who keeps a close watch on the rising star. “I used to train back home, but Vimal Sir saw me at a tournament and thought I should come and train here at the academy. Since then I have shifted my base here and for the past five years, it has been a great journey. I enjoy training at the academy as the facilities are excellent and I have made a lot of friends here. My journey has been great so far. I enjoy the sport and also enjoy travelling around the world for it,” said the youngster.
Having shifted to the city at the early age of 10, Lakshya has quickly made Bengaluru his home and he enjoys his time both on and off the court as well. “We train throughout the week. After training, I hang out with my friends. The city has a lot to offer. I enjoy watching movies and listening to music during my free time. Generally, we go out for movies or just hang out with my academy friends during the weekends. Moreover, I don’t miss home food as the cook here makes north Indian food, so I enjoy every bit of my stay here. The weather is what I love most about the city,” said the Arijit Singh fan.
With his grandfather a former player, his father a coach and his brother one of the rising players of the country, Lakshya never once had a doubt about his choices. “I enjoyed playing and following cricket and football, but I always wanted to take up badminton professionally. I was always focused on the game and studies weren’t my priority. I will not concentrate too much on my studies as I don’t want to make a career out of studies but want to give my 100 per cent to the game. “Five years down the line, I want to be among the top badminton players in the country and I want to be a part of the 2020 Olympics, and excel there. That is my aim now,” says the class XI student, who is completing his education through open school.