Badminton legend Prakash Padukone is generally known to carefully weigh his words, especially when it concerns the abilities of his trainees. That’s why it comes as a surprise when he is effusive in his praise for young Lakshya Sen, the 10-year-old who won three titles at the Israel Junior International last week. Padukone said young Lakshya was perhaps even more talented than he (Padukone) was at that age. Lakshya won three crowns (singles, doubles and mixed doubles) in the under-11 category on Sunday.
Lakshya and elder brother Chirag have been trainees at the Padukone Academy for over a year now, and were early on marked as bright prospects. Padukone believes young Lakshya, if he retains his focus on the game, has the ability to become a top-class player.
“Lakshya is good, he’s one of the most talented players,” said Padukone, asked about the academy’s young trainee. “It’s important that we nurture him. “It’s important that we nurture him. (But) we don’t know how long he will remain (interested),” – indicating that it was impossible to predict how a player would eventually turn out. Lakshya is supported by Olympic Gold Quest, an organization that Padukone was instrumental in establishing.
Asked what about his game was so impressive, Padukone replied: “His overall game, his approach, his badminton intelligence, choice of strokes. I think he’s very mature for a boy of his age, which I don’t see in anyone else. His maturity level, the way he plays, his whole mental approach… of all the juniors, he will have the best chance of coming up, as of now.”
Asked if young Lakshya reminded him of his own game at that age, Padukone replied with a smile: “Maybe he’s more talented than I was at his age.”