Not satisfied with a bronze medal in his maiden World Championships, Lakshya Sen has vowed to go for the gold next time, even as the young shuttler trains his eyes on the All England Championships and 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The 20-year-old from Almora signed off with a creditable bronze after losing an extremely close semifinal 17-21 21-14 21-17 to seasoned compatriot Kidambi Srikanth on Saturday.
"It has been a long tournament and it is difficult to take such a loss when you are so close. I, at least, got a bronze, but I am not happy. I'm not very satisfied with the performance in the semifinals," Sen, who squandered a slender 15-13 lead in the decider, told PTI.
"I played a lot of good matches, faced some tough opponents, even in the semifinal it was a close match, it could have gone in anybody's favour. The medal is something to look forward to... next time I will go for the gold."
With this medal, Sen joined his mentor — the legendary Prakash Padukone (bronze in 1983) and B Sai Praneeth (bronze in 2019) — as the Indian medal winners at the showpiece.
"It is a good thing that in my first world championship, I made it to the semifinals and joined Prakash sir but I am looking forward to winning many more medals and events like him. Especially, I want to win the All England Championships, like him.
"The bronze medal is a big confidence booster for me, it is a stepping stone for future tournaments."
Talking about the semifinal, Sen said: "It was a close match overall. In the last game, I made few mistakes in the end and he managed to pull out some quick points, which gave him the advantage. I could have done some things better but it was his day."
Ahead of the semifinals, Sen played some tough matches during the week with two out of the three contests stretching to three games, including a gruelling quarterfinal against China's Zhao Jun Peng.
"It is hard to recover when you play three setters. The semifinal was also a physical battle. He had an easy quarterfinal compared to me, but it is a game where you have to give your best."
Sen played with a strapped shoulder and a bandaged knee and he said he is looking forward to fix all his niggles during the break.
"I had hurt my knee at Hylo Open when I had dived, there was pain but I managed it well. The shoulder was strapped as a safety measure as we have to play a lot of smashes during the rallies and, in slow conditions, it can be difficult. So I will fix all the niggles during the break."
Sen said he is looking to get back to training to prepare for next year when big-ticket events such as the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games are scheduled.
"I'm looking to get back to training after the assured break. The season starts with the India Open and then Syed Modi for me.
"All the big tournaments such as CWG, Asiad, All England are lined up next year and I am looking forward to do well in these events."
Sen entered the top 20 this year and he is now eyeing to break into the elite top 10 bracket.
"After this tournament, I am hoping to reach world No. 16 or 17, that would be good thing for me, so next target will be to break into top 10 next year," he signed off.