Buenos Aires: Former junior world No 1 Lakshya Sen had to settle for the silver medal after he went down in straight games to Li Shifeng of China in the men’s singles badminton final at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires on Friday.
Sen, the reigning junior Asian champion, lost 15-21, 19-21 in a 42-minute final match to bag the silver. He had beaten Shifeng in straight games in the quarterfinals of the Asian Championships in July, but on Friday, it was the turn of his Chinese rival to turn the tables on him. In the both the games, Shifeng led all through and Sen was playing catch-up which he eventually could not succeed in the end.
The fourth-seed shuttler showed a solid fighting spirit in the second game as he managed to save four match points to inch closer towards his Chinese opponent. But Li managed to held his nerve together and push for the win without losing a game.
In the first game, Shifeng took an early lead and raced to 14-5 in no time. Sen made a fine recovery to narrow down the gap to 13-16 but he could not sustain it and Shifeng went ahead 18-13 and then made it 20-14 to have six game points. Though Sen saved one game point, the Chinese won the next one to pocket the first game in 17 minutes.
The second game was a closer fight than the first but the Chinese was leading all the time. Shifeng was ahead 8-7 initially but the gap widened to 12-7 before Sen made it 11-14. The three-point gap remained for some time before the Chinese made it 18-14 and then 19-14.
Sen’s silver medal win takes India’s total tally at the Youth Olympics to seven medals this year. He became the second Indian shuttler to win a silver at the event in 8 years. It was HS Prannoy who had achieved the same feat back in 2010.
Born in Almora, Lakshya belongs to a badminton family. His father, DK Sen, is a coach in India and his brother, Chirag Sen, is also an international badminton player.