Rising shuttler Lakshya Sen stunned reigning world junior champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand in straight games to become only the third Indian player to clinch a gold medal at the Asia Junior Championships in Jakarta today.
The sixth seeded Indian from Uttarakhand, who had won a bronze medal in the last edition of the competition, notched up 21-19, 21-18 upset win over Vitidsarn in the summit clash that clocked 46 minutes.
“I am happy to win the tournament. It will boost my confidence. I played in the team event and then in the individual event, so it was a long tournament. The focus was on recovering well after each match and I am happy I could play well and win,” Lakshya told PTI .
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Late Gautam Thakkar (1965) and Olympic silver medallist P. V. Sindhu (2012) had won the prestigious title earlier. Sindhu had won a bronze as well in 2011, while Sameer Verma won a silver and bronze in 2011 and 2012 and the pair Pranav Chopra/Prajkta Sawant bagged a bronze in 2009.
Lakshya has been sensational in the tournament as he stunned second seed Chinese Li Shifeng, fourth seed Indonesian Ikhsan Leonardo Imanuel Rumbay in the semifinals and top seed Vitidsarn in the final.
“It was very hectic. In fact, ahead of the tournament I had to tweak my training a bit as I had suffered a shin split. During the tournament also I had to take pills sometimes to curb the pain,” he said.
“Overall, it was a good tournament. I have played all these top players before, so I knew their game.”
India’s junior national coach Sanjay Mishra also showered praise on Lakshya.
“Winning any tournament is a big thing and he has clinched the gold in a tournament where the best of world compete. We know Asia is the hub of badminton and winning the Asia title will give him a big boost,” he said.
“The Thai player was playing more of a rally game and he was getting points, so we decided to change the strategy and finish it quick. It helped as Lakshya started dominating the proceedings.”
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