It has so far been an incredible year for India's young sensational shuttler Lakshya Sen. The 18-year-old from Almora just added on his stride the fourth title in the last five tournaments he had played. Lakshya won the Scottish Open men’s singles title on Sunday with a thrilling win over Brazil’s Ygor Coelho in the men’s singles summit clash and breaks into top 40 of the BWF ranking.
While the senior Indian men's shuttlers struggle to maintain their on-court consistency, Lakshya has shown promise with a good run so far in this year. None of the Indian men's shuttlers have won any major title (above BWF300) this year. India's biggest wins came year through P V Sindhu who won the BWF World Championships in August and Saina Nehwal, who won the Indonesia Masters back in January.
Lakshya, the Youth Olympics silver medallist won two Super 100 tournaments, including the Dutch Open and SaarLorLux Open. Apart from Sen, only Sourabh Verma has won two World tour 100 titles this year. Lakshya is all set to make his mark felt at the Syed Modi International Super 300 which starts today in Lucknow.
Lakshya began the year winning the runners-up silver medal at Polish Open International Challenge in March. He had to wait for his first title of the year at the Belgian International in September following which his performance picked up and he went on win four titles in the next five tournament -- Dutch Open Super 100 and SarrLorLux Super 100 in October and lastly the Polish Open in November.
Lakshya Sen started 2019 with world rank 109 in January BWF rankings. Polish IC runner-up finish gave a push to Sen Ranking and he moved to 76 in World Ranking. His ranking kept oscillating between 70 to 80 until October. Now after these titles he has already reached the top 40.
With the entry in the top 40, he has come closer to get a chance for direct qualification in the BWF grade 2 events. Lakshya is currently ranked 39 in Road to Tokyo ranking, seventh-best among Indians and is chasing a spot at the Olympics. Sai Praneeth who is rank 8th in the Olympic ranking is almost confirmed but it will be interesting to see can India have another shuttler in the top 16 with six more months remaining to make it. As top 16 gives two Olympic quotas in singles. The next best Badminton Player is P.Kashyap who is ranked 20th in this ranking.
Sourabh (23), H.S. Pranoy (25), Kidambi (32), Sameer (36) are currently ahead of Lakshya. However, a good performance at Syed Modi can boost Sen’s ranking and provide him Grade 2 ticket for next year. Despite being smaller than Grade 1, a couple of good Grade 2 performances can give him a Tokyo ticket, provided that if he makes into the Top 16.