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Lakshya Sen beats world champion to claim India Open title

Lakshya Sen simultaneously beat Singaporean Loh Kean Yew and the tempting instinct to match the world champion’s showboating.

Lakshya Sen beats world champion to claim India Open title
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As he claimed the India Open Super 500 at IG Stadium on Sunday, Lakshya Sen simultaneously beat Singaporean Loh Kean Yew and the tempting instinct to match the world champion's showboating.

For a pair of men in their early 20s, both equipped with an exuberant attack, the impulse to get into a 'who's faster, who's hitting harder' contest could have dragged the Almora man into peril at crucial junctures. But Sen displayed maturity and control, putting to shade the world champion who was crowned only last month.

On his debut at the Delhi event, Sen, himself a bronze medallist in the world championships, became the first opponent to hand Kean Yew a defeat on the circuit, with a 24-22, 21-17 victory.

In both the semis and finals, Sen was under the pump at the finishing stages. The confidence and momentum he carries in crunch situations make Sen the most anticipated main act of 2022 in Indian badminton.

The win which came on a day the Indian men's doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, 22, and Chirag Shetty, 25, beat thrice World Champions Hendra Setiawan and Mohamad Ahsan of Indonesia was proof that the age of the well-honed Indian men's badminton player, who is not a one-off like Prakash Padukone and P Gopichand, was here.

Sen is an interesting case study in Indian sport. An example of early scouting by Padukone, handpicked at age 8, Sen has grown in the sport in the most ideal of conditions.

He was blessed with supportive parents -with his father being a certified coach the best of facilities and technical expertise at the Padukone academy, where he had Vimal Kumar as coach. He was also flush with funds, thanks to sponsorship from the government and the Olympic Gold Quest micro-managing every training step he took. Years of sustained, pinpoint planning makes him a project that's gone right in the Indian ecosystem.

Padukone ensured that Sen got training spots under some of the biggest names from Danish legend Peter Gade in France to most recently, Olympic champ Viktor Axelsen in Dubai to add minor dimensions to his game, and keep chiseling it over the years.


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