From a correspondent
New Delhi, Oct. 13,
India’s Lakshya Sen settled for the silver medal after he went down to China’s Li Shifeng 15-21, 19-21 in the men’s singles badminton final at Youth Olympics Games in Buenos Aires late last night. The final lasted for 42 minutes.
Thus, the rising badminton star and World Junior No 3, Sen became the second Indian only after H.S. Prannoy who achieved the honour eight years ago in Singapore.
The former junior World No. 1 Sen, who won a dramatic semifinal against Japanese Kodai Naraoka the previous evening, could not repeat his performance against the Chinese who maintained a good lead from the beginning to wrap up the first game in mere 17 minutes.
The Indian found it difficult to cope with the pace of the Chinese who not only sent down withering smashes but also the clever use of drop shots to keep Sen engaged. Li, who hit a nice tempo in the opening act, marked by pinpoint clears to the deep with constricting net game brooked little challenge from Sen.
However, the fourth seeded Indian, playing a better game, matched his rival’s stroke for stroke and kept within reach just after the midway of the second game, only to lose steam despite holding four match points. The Chinese, handling the crunch situation pushed for the win without dropping a game.
Sen admitting to his early mistakes gave full credit to his Chinese rival. “He was very good and won the crucial points. I couldn’t push myself tough I managed to prolong the inevitable,” said Sen after his final. “But I am happy to be the second Indian to bring back a medal in badminton from such an elite championship,” he added.
It was a sort of a revenge for the Chinese whom the Indian had beaten in the quarterfinals of the Asian Championships earlier this year.
Congratulating on his silver-medal performance, BAI President Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “Lakshya (Sen) is a world class prospect and I would like to congratulate him on his medal winning performance at the Youth Olympics. I was particularly happy with the way he fought his way back in the semifinals and can certainly say that World Badminton has a new rising star in him”, said the BAI Chief. He showed tremendous character and fighting spirit and this surely is not the end of it,” he further added.
Ajay K Singhana, Secretary General of BAI, too complimented the reigning Asian Junior Champion. “You did us all proud. On behalf of the entire BAI I congratulate you on your medal win as you add the seventh medal to the list of wins at the 2018 Youth Olympics,” he said, in his congratulatory message to Lakshya.
Lakshya, next plays the Word Juniors in Markham (Canada) from November 5 to 18 and is a part of the 24-member Indian squad.