Holi is over but the sports enthusiasts in the country are still in a very festive mood. And why not? World Championships medallist and India’s star shuttler Lakshya Sen is all set for a super Sunday clash with World No. 1 Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen in the finals of the men’s singles in 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 match against defending champion Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia 21-13 12-21 21-19, in Birmingham on Saturday, to set us his maiden All England finals.
Here are a few things to know about Indian badminton’s latest sensation –
- Lakshya comes from a family of shuttlers. His grandfather Chandra Lal Sen used to play the sport and his father D.K. Sen is a renowned coach in the Indian badminton fraternity. Lakshya’s elder 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 just nine-and-a-half years old when he went to Bangalore and played under the watchful eyes 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 national men’s singles final.
- He also clinched the number one junior singles player position in BWF World Junior ranking in February 2017.
- Another major breakthrough in Sen’s career came when he won the boys’ singles silver medal at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics. He lost the finals against China’s Li Shifeng.
- His biggest achievement so far has been winning the bronze medal in the World Championships in 2021. He had lost the semi-final match against India’s Srikanth Kidambi 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 finals on Saturday, he became only the fourth men’s singles player after Prakash Nath, Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand to reach the final. Saina Nehwal had reached the women’s singles finals in 2015 but lost to Spain’s Carolina Marin in the final match.
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