The last few months have been a dream for young Indian badminton player Lakshya Sen. A bronze medal at the World Championships and now a silver medal at the prestigious All England Open Badminton Championships put Lakshya Sen on a pinnacle. An Indian Open title and a second-best finish at the German Open added the required garnish for a perfect dream ingredient for the versatile shuttler.
His exploits on the court have also given him another best - a world ranking of nine. He will also be given a top-eight seeding at events as Chinese player and World No. 6 Chen Long has retired.
Former Indian international and 2006 Commonwealth Games medalist Trupti Murgunde, in an exclusive interaction with Sportskeeda, said she was happy to see players who were on the fringes make it big in the international stage.
Trupti said the overall performance of the badminton players have gone up in the recent past. It is attributed to the fact that the support system for Indian badminton - from the governement, the Badminton Association of India (BAI), the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) of the SAI - has been top notch.
"It is a good sign for Indian badminton to see the upcoming stars perform well. I am very happy with the way things have panned out in Indian badminton, especially after the Olympics. At the start of every Olympic cycle, there will be changes in sports with budding players showcasing their progress. This time, it has been quite well for Indian badminton," she said.
Trupti has known Lakshya Sen from his early days. Both Trupti and Lakshya used to train at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy in Bengaluru. While Trupti was a seasoned player by then, Lakshya was in his formative days, learning and mastering the nuances of the sport.
"I have known Lakshya Sen since his formative days. We used to train at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy. He is an extremely focussed player. What has been impressive is his ability to consistently challenge and beat top players. There is a sense of maturity when he takes the court," she said.
Consistency should be the name of the game for Lakshya Sen
Lakshya Sen broke into the top-10 following his illustrious run at the All England Open Badminton Championships. The ascendancy in the rankings will help the shuttler get a good draw and a top-eight seeding will also ensure that he doesn't meet top players till the quarter-finals in tournaments.
But what is important for Lakshya Sen now? Trupti explained:
"What is now important for Lakshya Sen is to maintain his consistency, his game style and strategy. He is new to the circuit so he has that little surprise element but he needs to keep that going."
She added -
"When I look at the next Olympics, which is a good couple of years away, Lakshya Sen knows who his competitors will be. He has been playing against them and he will continue to. So, he has a good amount of time to be among the best in the business when it matters."
Trupti, who is a part of the Indian Sports Ministry's Mission Olympic Cell, said Lakshya's knowledge of the game and the situation has been good. She said his ability to read the game quickly will augur well for him in the coming years.
"His ability to make tactical changes during the game has been stupendous. He has a good presence of mind on the court and knows when to attack, when to defend or when to indulge in a rally. He is making the right moves as and when they are needed," she opined.
The former international, who was awarded the Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sports and Games, also lauded the pair of All England Open debutants Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand for their good show in the tournament. She also said the pair of Arjun and Dhruv Kapila did well and the future of Indian badminton looks good.
"The pairs of Tresa Jolly-Gayatri Gopichand and MR Arjun-Dhruv Kapila have also been doing very well. They are a newly formed pair and doing well in a tournament like the All England Open will do a world of good for them. It is the first time the youngsters have been in a tournament of that stature, a tournament with a different aura to it, and Indian badminton has a long bright future," she said.