Sunday, June 26, 2022

BWF World Championships: Lakshya Sen has shown why he is India’s brightest hope

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BWF World Championships: Saturday’s semifinal between two Indian shuttlers — Lakshya Sen and Kidambi Srikanth turned out be a marathon. Eventually, the experienced Kidambi Srikanth created history by becoming the first Indian male shuttler to reach the finals of the BWF World Championships. But ultimately the biggest winner was Indian badminton as they found a true star for the future. Follow BWF World Championships Live updates on InsideSport.IN

Also read: BWF World Championships Finals LIVE: Srikanth to play Loh Kean Yew in historic finals, Tai Tzu takes on Yamaguchi, Follow World Badminton Finals LIVE

Lakshya Sen became only the fourth Indian male shuttler ever to win a medal in the prestigious competition and the youngest to achieve the feat. His bronze is only a sign of things to come, as coach Vimal Kumar pointed out.

What a turnaround it has been for the 20-year-old. From being snubbed ahead of India’s campaigns in the Thomas Cup and Sudirman Cup, to clinching a Worlds bronze in the space of a few months. The maturity Lakshya Sen has shown in the past few weeks is testament to the effort the World No 19 has put in.

BWF World Championships: Lakshya Sen has shown why he is India’s brightest hope

A clear head has helped Lakshya in his cause as has his two-week training stint with the great Viktor Axelsen in Dubai.

“I have spoken to him about the shift in mentality required to compete with the best. This campaign has shown that he has learnt a lot. Now he needs to continue in the same vein. Not be satisfied with a quarterfinal finish or be content with his current ranking. It is all about believing in yourself and always having the aim of winning. He has certainly showed that and the future is bright for Lakshya,” a proud Vimal Kumar told InsideSport.

Before the World Championships, Lakshya Sen was known more for his power game and more often than not, running out of steam in the final stages of a contest. Vimal Kumar had stressed the importance of hanging in there and continuing rallies to induce a false stroke from the opposition, a sight we saw aplenty in three of his matches in the competition.

Whether it be against Kenta Nishimoto, or Zhao Jun Peng or even in the last four contest against Kidambi Srikanth, Lakshya Sen showed a hidden side of his game, as he got stuck in there and kept fighting till the very end. One of the best examples of his new-found gritty side was when he saved a match point against the Chinese shuttler in the quarterfinals and eventually went on to win the match.

BWF World Championships: Lakshya Sen has shown why he is India’s brightest hope

“I’ve been very impressed with the application he has showed. He has shown a lot of maturity in dealing with the tough points. There are certain aspects to be improved but this fighting spirit is something which will aid him a lot. Instead of always going for the attacking stroke, hanging in there can also be beneficial in crucial contests. The way he has retrieved lost causes and kept the points going has been impressive,” Vimal added.

A World Championships medal is just the start. Bigger challenges lie in wait. 2022 has two huge events — Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. All eyes will be firmly on Lakshya Sen now that he has proved his mettle at such a tough stage. Paris 2024 is on the way. Vimal Kumar feels he should just focus on his game and let his racquet do the talking.

“Forget everything and play fearlessly and play to win.” That is the mantra his coach wants him to believe in. One thing is for certain, the future of Indian badminton is in safe hands.

BWF World Championships: Lakshya Sen has shown why he is India’s brightest hope

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