The rise of a sport in a country is truly established when the next generation, too, starts coming up. Badminton’s graph has been soaring in India for quite some time after trailblazer Saina Nehwal and then PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and others put the country on the sport’s world map. Now, after their continued success, talented juniors, too, are appearing on the horizon who can take the sport to even bigger heights in the near future as was evidenced by young Lakshya Sen’s win at the India International Series on Sunday.
The 15-year-old won his maiden international title at the senior level when he upset the ninth seed Zii Jia Lee of Malaysia 11-13, 11-3, 11-6, 11-6 at this event in Hyderabad. Considering Lee is the junior World No. 3 and three years older than Sen, this is indeed a commendable achievement for the Indian.
Sen has been in good form for some time and even reached the pre-quarter-finals of the World Junior Championships this year before coming to this tournament. He also won the bronze medal at the Asian Junior Championships earlier this year.
The rising player also accounted for the top seed Shreyansh Jaiswal in the semi-finals and the third seed Rahul Yadav Chittaboina in the second round.
Sen is supported by the not-for-profit organisation Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ).
Rituparna upsets Ruthvika for the women’s title
Lakshya was not the only Indian winner at this tournament. In the women’s singles, there was a major upset as the third seed Rituparna Das toppled the top seed and reigning Russian Open champion Ruthvika Shivani Gadde 11-7, 8-11, 11-7, 14-12 for the title.
But the best performing Indian was the 16-year-old Satwiksairaj Rankireddy. He won both the men’s doubles as well as the mixed doubles titles.
In men’s doubles, he and Chirag Shetty were seeded fourth but went on to show the door to the top seeds Sze Fei Goh and Nur Izzuddin of Malaysia, 8-11, 11-5, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5 in 50 minutes.
In mixed doubles, Rankireddy was the top seed alongside K Maneesha. The Indians fought back from a game down to clinch the title with a 5-11, 11-8, 12-10, 11-8 win over the Malaysian duo of Hang Yee Low and Yee See Cheah.