It was a golden day in badminton for India as star pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty clinched gold in the men’s doubles of the India Open after they defeated Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan. Later in the day, it was Lakshya Sen who clinched gold aswell as he defeated World Champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore.
It was Sen’s India Open debut and he became the first Indian to win the competition on debut. This was a nice build up to his World Championship bronze medal as the 20-year-old will look to continue his progress this year.
Sen was quick to control the tempo of all the rallies as he did not allow Loh to move much. The Indian shuttler had the upper hand when he restricted Loh’s free-flowing movement. Sen raced to a 16-9 lead. Although Loh came back in the game Sen still had a five-point lead at 19-14. However, the Singaporean shuttler won six straight points to put the Indian under pressure with a game point. However, Sen showed great character and resilience to fight back and take the first game.
The second half was more even as Loh Kean started off strongly but gradually faded away as Sen once again showed great patience. The Indian knew when to attack and when to hold his own. This trait of his allowed him to win the second game and clinch the gold medal.
“It was a crucial first game. I was leading and then it became 20-20. But I managed to pull out the first game and it gave me a lot of confidence,” Sen said after winning the finals.
The 20-year-old highlighted how he did not come to the India Open with a lot of expectations as he did not get to practice much ahead of the event. He added, “I didn’t come with a lot of expectations in this tournament as I didn’t get a lot of practice after the world champion. But I came into the final with a much better rhythm as I played a few good three-game matches and I played more freely in the final today.”
This win will boost the morale of the young Indian shuttlers as he aims to achieve big things in his career.