Other Sports

‘The senior tour is a different level altogether’

Measured steps: With the legendary Prakash Padukone to guide him, Lakshya Sen can hope to go a long way.

Measured steps: With the legendary Prakash Padukone to guide him, Lakshya Sen can hope to go a long way.  

Junior Asian champion Lakshya believes he needs to work on his fitness

These are happy times for Lakshya Sen. The teenager is set to meet Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, followed by a few more felicitation functions in his home State.

The title run at the recent Badminton Asia junior championship in Jakarta has brought him into the spotlight, but Lakshya has his sights set on the bigger prize — making a mark on the tough senior men’s circuit.

In this respect, a pragmatic Lakshya believes that he has a “long way to go”. The professionals play at a frenetic pace, which makes for an unnatural setting for a fledgling junior.

Lakshya believes that a high level of fitness is required to make a smooth transition.

The 16-year-old, however, has had his share of injury troubles. A shoulder injury kept him out of action for a few months early this year. At Jakarta, Lakshya had to take painkillers to manage a shin injury.

Different level

“This win has given me confidence, but the senior tour is a different level altogether. I still have a long way to go,” Lakshya, who trains at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) here, told The Hindu on Tuesday. “I need to work on my strength and stamina, as the senior men’s matches are longer and faster,” Lakshya said.

His coaches at PPBA, which includes a distinguished co-founder duo in Prakash Padukone and Vimal Kumar, believe in easing their promising ward into the professional circuit with baby steps.

For now, Lakshya will compete in the smaller International Series and International Challenge events, before graduating to the Grand Prix level.

Lakshya himself is wary of expecting too much too soon. “You cannot expect immediate results on the senior circuit. I’m taking it slow, because I have to give my body a few years to develop fully,” Lakshya said.

Lakshya is focused on improving his senior world ranking, which currently stands at 76. “I’m going to play a lot of tournaments, and try and break into the top-50 by the end of this year,” he said.

Asked about his long-term goals, Lakshya replied, “Hopefully, I can qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and do well there.”

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 9:42:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/lakshya-sets-his-sights-on-the-bigger-prize/article24505100.ece

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