Lakshya Sen on Sunday became only the third Indian shuttler to secure a gold medal at the Badminton Asia junior championships after defeating World junior champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand in straight games in the final.
The sixth-seeded Indian from Uttarakhand, who had won a bronze in the last edition, notched up 21-19, 21-18 upset win over Vitidsarn in the summit clash that clocked 46 minutes.
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 of Pranav Chopra & Prajkta Sawant bagged a bronze in 2009.
The Badminton Association of India has announced a cash reward of Rs. 10 lakh for Lakshya.
“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,” said Lakshya.
“I got a very good support from team members as well. This Asian Junior gold is precious to me.
“The win against the second-seeded Chinese the other night helped me. I carried my confidence further and beat the fourth-seed in the semifinals. And today, I played my natural game to beat Kunlavut. Since it was our first meeting, I played without any pressure, he added.
“It was very hectic. In fact, ahead of the tournament I had to tweak my training a bit as I had suffered shin splints. During the tournament also I had to take pills sometimes to curb the pain,” he said.
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