Lakshya Sen to lead India’s challenge at World Junior Badminton Championships

India's 23-member squad will look up to Lakshya, the world junior No. 4, to lead the mixed team’s charge for a podium finish.

“I know how important the world championships are for all of us. Personally, I have a lot of responsibility and would do all that is possible to give my best shot at the medals, both in the team event as well as in the individuals,” Lakshya said.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Reigning Asian junior champion Lakshya Sen will spearhead India’s campaign at the BWF World Junior Badminton Championships in Markham, Canada, starting Monday.

The 14-day championships start with team action till November 10 and will be followed by individual events between November 11 and 18.

India's 23-member squad will look up to Lakshya, the world junior No. 4, to lead the mixed team’s charge for a podium finish. 

China, which won the mixed doubles title in the last edition, is seeded No. 1, followed by Indonesia, while South Korea and Thailand share the third spot.

India is seeded No. 5 and is placed in group E alongside Algeria, Faroe Islands, Kenya and Sri Lanka. The draw gives India a great opportunity to make it to the quarterfinals.

The Canada event is the chance that most of the current junior crop, including Kiran George, Priyanshu Rajawat, Alap Mishra among boys, and Malvika Bansod and Gayatri Gopichand in girls, would like to use as a springboard to further their careers.

“I know how important the world championships are for all of us. Personally, I have a lot of responsibility and would do all that is possible to give my best shot at the medals, both in the team event as well as in the individuals,” Lakshya said.

The group matches will be played in a round-robin format, with the leader making the cut for Stage II, which is the knockout round.

Ajay Singhania, General Secretary, Badminton Association of India, is hopeful of a good showing. “The junior team, in recent times, has been doing really well both in the team as well as individual events. I am sure the junior shuttlers will do their best to keep the tricolour flying high,” he said. 

India’s best show at the World Juniors was in 2008 when Saina Nehwal won the only gold.