Their passion for badminton and more so for Lakshya Sen, the new hope of Indian badminton, cuts across borders.
For the five-member fan club from the United States led by Mahi, it was an experience they would remember forever like for hundreds of Indians, who were there at the just-concluded All England championship.
They - Mahi, Vijay Vasireddy, Achuth Suraneni, Jagadeesh Gummella, Bramaji Valvetti - came from the US to watch the tournament from start to finish.
The growing popularity of not just the sport but also of Lakshya Sen, the rising star of Indian badminton, is also evident by these passionate sports lovers, who wanted to be at the championship which many treat it on par with Wimbledon in tennis.
“ We just couldn’t believe that we were there at the venue for the final featuring an Indian,” said Mahi, who also watched the 2019 ICC ODI World Cup final at Lord’s, actually hoping India would feature in it.
“Being an avid fan of badminton, Lakshya's name caught my eye while watching badminton videos on YouTube,” recalls Mahi, who interestingly made friends with the champion shuttler’s father also during the championship.
“It was a sheer coincidence that we stumbled upon his entourage in Birmingham. We were floored by his simplicity, and their down-to-earth demeanour. Lakshya’s dad being no different is no surprise,” Mahi said.
“Upon learning about the background and his campaign, we were humbled and felt proud of Lakshya, who should be a role model for young India,” he said.
“Lakshya gives us hope. His achievements inspire. Though targets were never revealed, we are convinced that future belongs to Indian Badminton with the likes of Lakshya Sen,” said the passionate group of sports lovers, who have origins in Hyderabad before moving over to the US on job commitments.
“It was a longstanding desire to be there at the All England Open ever since we grew up following the great Prakash Padukone’s achievements, including winning the All England in 1980 and then Saina Nehwal and Sindhu. They are inspirational athletes for millions of Indians,” he said.
“Even though we did not like the final result (Lakshya losing), we are pretty sure Lakshya's talent will pay many dividends and bring many laurels to himself and our great country! Wishing him and other players a bright future,” the ardent lovers signed off.
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