Year after year India has been producing star performers in badminton. And now PV Sindhu with her glorious achievement in the Rio Olympics has raised the standards of Indian badminton. A growing craze for this sport has been observed especially among the juniors.
India got to experience yet another proud and exhilarating moment. The world saw Lakshya Sen, the 15-year-old shuttler from Dehradun seize the number one spot in the BWF Junior Rankings on 2 February 2017. He has left behind the Chinese champion Chia-Hao Lee in the second position by quite a margin. He is the third Indian to achieve this feat after Aditya Joshi (2014) and Siril Verma (2016). He was the winner of the All India Senior Ranking Tournament in Arunachal Pradesh as well as the BWF Challenger Series, 2016.
His brilliance in the sport along with his victories propelled him from the number eight in 2016 to the top position yesterday. The Indian badminton legend, Prakash Padukone believes that this champion at the age of 10 was better at the sport than what he was.
The last few years have been the golden era for Indian Badminton with a range of players in the junior section giving a coup d’oeil of their impressive performances and skill through many jet set competitions on the world stage. Historically, India had just one player at the top level, be it any sport. But now things are changing. Today a batch of players are playing well, which is a good sign of the immense talent in the country. Let’s take a look at the achievements of some of our young athletes.
There are as many as 7 players in the top 100 in the world according to the BWF Junior Rankings with three players finding a place among the top 30. Following Lakshya Sen’s lead are Siril Verma at the 12th and Kartikey Gulshan Kumar at the 26th position. Aryaman Tandon, Orijit Chaliha, Arintap Dasgupta and Kanishq M are at 55, 63, 73 and 94 positions respectively.
The former world number one (2016), Siril Verma is now focused on establishing a strong foothold in the senior category. He aims to be number one in the senior category as well. When asked about his future aspirations he says, “I want to qualify for the 2020 Olympics and win a medal there. I want to perform consistently and win as many titles as possible”.
The ladies are also giving an indication of the potential they possess with eight players finding a place in the top 100 of the BWF Junior Rankings. Aakarshi Kashyap is ranked 12th in the world followed by Mugdha Agrey and Ira Sharma at positions 27 and 43 respectively. Vaidehi Choudhari, Purva Barve, Kanika Kanwal, Smit Toshniwala and Preethi Konadam are at 60, 66, 71, 73 and 89 respectively.
Aakarshi Kashyap had bagged two titles, clinching both the U-17 and U-19 on the concluding day of the 25th Krishna Khaitan All-India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament at Panjab in 2016. “I dream to become like her, winning an Olympic medal someday,” says the 15-year-old who is totally inspired by PV Sindhu. She is focussing on giving her best and grabbing titles of international tournaments abroad this year.
When asked about the potential of juniors
Prakash Padukone says that moving from junior level to senior level is a big step. Starting at the senior level is a different ball game. Players will have to work harder. Young girls don’t lack in technique but they need to focus on their stamina and physical fitness. Once this is achieved, success at higher levels won’t be difficult.
India is excelling by leaps and bounds in the field of badminton. It seems like the future has many more glorious moments in store for us. Way to go champions! Make us proud!