Sportstar Aces Awards: Best Young Athlete (Boys) nominees

Explore the performance of our nominees Lakshya Sen, Prithvi Shaw and Srihari Nataraj.

Clockwise (from top): Prithvi Shaw, Srihari Nataraj and Lakshya Sen   -  Getty Images, Sudhakara Jain

LAKSHYA SEN

Age: 19

In February 2017, Lakshya Sen reached the pinnacle of the badminton junior circuit when he became the world No. 1. After this, he started amassing national-level age-group tournament trophies and a few international titles.

After winning the 2017 Bulgaria Open International Series, the teen in May 2018 took a game off five-time world champion Lin Dan before losing (21-15, 15-21, 12-21) in the second round of the New Zealand Open.

In 2018, he won gold in the Badminton Asia Junior Championships in Jakarta and was awarded a cash prize of ₹10 lakh by the Badminton Association of India.

He then settled for a silver medal at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires after losing the summit clash against Li Shifeng of China.

In December 2018, Lakshya defeated Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn — his arch-rival on the junior circuit — to win the Tata Open India International Challenge title in Mumbai.

He ended his junior career with a bronze medal run at the BWF World Junior Championships and is now focused on qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

 

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Lakshya Sen competes against Japan's Kodai Naraoka during the BWF World Junior Championships quarterfinal in Indonesia on October 20, 2017.   -  Getty Images

 

 

Lakshya Sen in 2018

  • Won gold at the Badminton Asia Junior Championships

  • Won silver at the Youth Olympics

  • Won bronze in the World Junior Championships

  • Won the Tata Open India International Challenge

 

PRITHVI SHAW

Age: 19

Prithvi Shaw shot to prominence as a 14-year-old by making a record individual score of 546 for Mumbai's Rizvi Springfield School against St Francis D’Assisi High School in the Harris Shield. Prithvi batted for six hours and seven minutes, faced 330 balls and struck 85 fours and five sixes. He added 619 for the second wicket with Satyalaksh Jain, whose contribution was 164, in Rizvi Springfield’s score of 991.

Prithvi captained the India Under-19 squad to a World Cup win in 2018. He also earned an Indian Premier League contract with the Delhi Daredevils (now the Delhi Capitals) for ₹1.2 crore. He became the youngest player to open batting in IPL history at the age of 18 and 165 days, and scored 22 runs in 10 balls on debut against Kings XI Punjab.

He notched up his first IPL fifty (62) against the Kolkata Knight Riders and became the joint youngest player to score an IPL fifty alongside Sanju Samson (18 years and 169 days). He ended the IPL season with 245 runs in nine innings at a strike rate of 153.12.

His performances for India A, both in England and at home against West Indies A and South Africa A, earned him a national call-up. He was in the squad for the fourth and fifth Tests in England in 2018, but he made his Test debut against the West Indies at Rajkot in October 2018. He announced his arrival with a century, becoming the youngest Indian to score a century on debut and the second youngest Test centurion for India after Sachin Tendulkar.

He was included in the Indian Test side for the Australian tour, but twisted his ankle during a practice game and was ruled out.

The International Cricket Council named Shaw one of the five breakout stars of men's cricket in 2018.

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Prithvi Shaw bats during a tour match between England Lions and India A at New Road in England on July 17, 2018.   -  Getty Images

 

TEST

Mat

Inns

Runs

Ave

HS

SR

100s

50s

2

3

237

118.5

134

94.05

1

1

 

U-19 WORLD CUP

Mat

Inns

Runs

Ave

HS

SR

100s

50s

6

5

261

65.25

94

94.56

0

2

 

SRIHARI NATARAJ

Age: 18

Between 2007 and 2009, Srihari Nataraj won a number of school- and club-level events, and then began nurturing bigger dreams. He qualified for his first national championships in 2010 before turning 10, and finished fifth in the 50m backstroke as the youngest participant in the meet. But, in Srihari’s own words, it all started in 2011 when he was crowned the sub-junior national champion.

The year 2018 was a memorable one for the backstroke specialist. He made his Commonwealth Games and Asian Games debut and showed no signs of nerves. In Gold Coast, he set two national records and made the semifinals in two of the three backstroke events (50m, 100m) that he qualified for.

He followed that up with four national records and eight gold medals in the junior national championships. At the Asian Games in Jakarta, he rewrote three national records and made the final in two events. At the national championships in September, he bettered two of those records.

At the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires in October, Srihari became the first Indian swimmer to reach a final and finished sixth in the 100m backstroke. He believes he would have done better if the Indian contingent had a physiotherapist travelling with the athletes.

Srihari has achieved the ‘B’ qualication mark for the World Championships in the 100m and 200m backstroke, clocking 55.86s and 2:02.37s, respectively, at the Asian Games. He is now the proud owner of national records in the 50m, 100m and 200m, which he rewrote multiple times.

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Srihari Nataraj during a practice session at Ramakrishna Hegde Swimming pool in Bengaluru on December 28, 2018.   -  Sudhakara Jain

 

Srihari Nataraj in 2018

  • Holder of national records in 50m, 100m, 200m backstroke events

  • Won seven gold medals at the junior national championships

  • Won six gold, a silver and a bronze at the senior national championships

  • Rewrote two national records and made the final in two events at the Commonwealth Games

  • Rewrote three national records (50m, 100m, 200m backstroke) at the Asian Games

  • Became the first Indian swimmer to reach a final at the Youth Olympics and finished sixth in the 100m backstroke

  • Won six gold medals and one silver at the Khelo India Games