“Going As World Champions”: India Shuttles Lakshya Sen ahead of Asian Games

Young star Lakshya Sen said India, the Thomas Cup champions, are favorites to win the Asian Games men’s badminton team gold and he also harbors dreams of facing compatriot and Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra at the quadrennial event. Sen, who won the World Championships bronze in 2021, was one of the architects of India’s epic Thomas Cup victory in May last year. He said India will be a top contender for the gold at the Asian Games. “Definitely the team looks really good.”

“This is the same team that won the Thomas Cup, so we are going as world champions. I think the players who are playing against us know that it is not easy (to beat India) as we can beat any team in the world,” Sen told PTI.

Sen emphasized the need for a collective effort at the Asian Games.

“I don’t think we lack confidence. We have this camaraderie and we know how to approach it. All the teams are tough and we have to do our best.

“We will need a good, collective effort to do well there. The whole team is positive and we hope for a good result,” Sen said.

The 22-year-old from Almora, who won a silver at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games and a gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, will play only the team championships at the 19th edition of the showpiece.

“It will be my first experience at the Asian Games. It is a similar atmosphere to the Commonwealth Games and the Youth Olympics.

“So I am looking forward to the event and I will also get a chance to meet other Indian and foreign athletes and learn about their sports and lives,” the senator said.

“In the Commonwealth Games last year, we were there with the TT contingent, when only we played from the first to the last day of the tournament. Their matches were in the next hall. So I watched a lot of TT matches. I didn’t have time to to see other events,” he said.

Sen, who is currently ranked world no. 11, missed the individual event at the Asian Games after he lost to Kidambi Srikanth in the selection trials in May this year.

Sen hoped that meeting Chopra, who will be competing in javelin, in person would give him something.

“I only play team events. So I’m looking forward to meeting Neeraj Chopra. If I get some time, I’d love to go and see him perform and support him.

“I’ve talked to him before but never met him in person. So I’m really looking forward to that,” he said.

The Indian players, who did not get time to have a long training session due to busy international schedule, are currently honing their skills in a week-long camp in Hyderabad.

“This time there were some big events like the China super 1000 and world championships which were kind of inevitable.

“But we’ve been competing very recently and it’s the same for everyone. The game preparation is there and it’s about playing well on the day.

“It is like a big pressure tournament, many people in India are paying attention to the Asian Games. So I am going (to the Asian Games) with my full intention and expect good results,” he said.

Badminton events start with the team competition on September 28.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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