'Believe in Myself': How Lakshya Sen Recovered After Early Tumble in CWG Final
Video: Lakshya Sen speaks to The Quint about the CWG 2022 final and his men's singles gold in badminton.
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A World Championship bronze, an All England silver, a Thomas Cup gold and now a Commonwealth Games men's singles gold – Lakshya Sen has had a season to remember.
The 20-year-old spoke to The Quint after his return from a successful Birmingham CWG and spoke about the gold medal match, his celebrations after the win, and about having his father be part of his coaching staff.
Lakshya, from not being able to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics to winning a medal at every big event you've participated in since, does the run seem almost unreal to you?
It's been a very good last few tournaments... almost a year now. My form has been really good and I'm happy with the way I'm playing. To win a Commonwealth Games gold feels like a dream.
Tze Yong, the player you beat in the men's singles final, is ranked 42nd in the world right now. When he managed to take the first game 21-19, what was it that you said to yourself in the break? Did you think of ways to make a comeback, or did you know that you knew what needed to be done?
I knew I was doing the right things and it was just a matter of 1-2 points that I lost the first game. But ya, at that point, ranking didn't really matter because the way he was playing the matches against the top seeds, he was in good form and carrying good momentum. I'm happy how I played the second and third games and kept it going.
I felt that he didn't have the same intensity later, as he did in the first game. In the second and third games, he was a little tired after the long rallies and I tried to take advantage of that and kept on saying, 'okay this is possible, believe in yourself. You know what to do'.
The same player you played in the men's singles final, Tze Yong, was also the one Kidambi Srikanth played in the mixed team gold medal match. Tze Yong though ended up winning that match. When the team made the decision to field Srikanth, what was the conversation like?
So, it was completely a team decision and they wanted someone fresh on court because I had played in the quarterfinals. I had played the semi-finals against Loh Kean Yew. I think those matches were good matches. So, I think based on that the team decided to put him because he was obviously fresher than me.
When you threw that racket into the crowds after winning the match, did you realise the force with which you had thrown it? Were you a little panicked at maybe possibly hitting somebody in the stands?
Yeah, I tried to elevate it a little bit more, but I think it went the trajectory of the racket it went a little bit too flat. I was worried but then I saw someone catch that racket and he was really happy after that. Nothing more than making the fans happy because in this tournament especially, they were all really supportive and throughout the tournament they were there to support the Indian team.
Your father is part of your training team and has helped shape your career. We also saw with long jumper Sreeshankar (Murali), even his father is his coach and travelled to the CWG. How easy a relationship is it to have your parent coach you? Do you both manage to switch off when you go off the court and when you're at home or is it just like intense badminton talk at all time?
Yeah, when we are at court it is intense talks about badminton. Even sometimes at home, but not all the time. When we are out of badminton we don't really try and think too much about it and just keep the badminton talks away if you are at home.
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Topics: Lakshya Sen CWG 2022
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