Youth Olympic Games 2018: Complacency, absence of physio denies Lakshya Sen coveted gold medal in Buenos Aires


Simply how a lot now we have all come to count on of 17-year-old Lakshya Sen may be gauged from the sub-headline that appeared beneath the banner heading “Lakshya, a step away from glory” in Saturday’s sports activities pages of a distinguished Mumbai every day newspaper forward of his singles last at 2018 Youth Olympic Game. It boldly declared: “Will develop into first Indian shuttler to win Youth Oly gold”. The definitive phrase was “will”; not “might”.

Within the occasion, the declaration turned out to be considerably untimely, because the Indian teenager needed to accept the silver, being crushed at 15-21, 19-21 by China’s Li Shifeng. Lakshya thus grew to become the second Indian to bag the Youth Olympic silver, repeating the 2010 feat of HS Prannoy.

Lakshya Sen missed on the providers of a physio after his gruelling semi-final conflict. Picture courtesy: Twitter @BAI_Media

Regardless of his decrease world rating of No 4, Lakshya was the favorite to clinch gold, as he beat each one of many high gamers in Asia on his technique to profitable the 2018 Asian Junior Championship. If he fell a trifle brief in his quest of the gold, it was as a result of he received scant restoration time for the title conflict. Lakshya was pressured to save lots of a match-point in his protracted semi-final, at the same time as Li cantered comfortably by way of his personal penultimate spherical conflict with out being stretched.

To some extent, Lakshya had solely himself accountable for the hair-raising method through which he scraped by way of the semi-final in opposition to Japan’s second-seeded Kodai Naraoka, getting back from a sport all the way down to claw into the ultimate by a heart-stoppingly shut 14-21, 21-15, 24-22 scoreline. The Indian allowed commanding leads of 11-Zero and 18-Eight to slide by way of his fingers within the decider and ultimately got here inside a degree of elimination at 20-21 in that 36-minute lengthy last sport.

“I received a bit of nervous in the course of the match, but it surely felt good to in the end pull out a detailed win like this,” Lakshya instructed Firstpost. “I did not begin effectively however picked up momentum within the second sport. I used to be in full command of the third sport however started feeling the strain after I made just a few errors, and allowed him to come back as much as 17-18, after which at 19-all. However I managed to calm myself, and held on to win the match.”

Lakshya’s mentor Vimal Kumar, who can also be the chief coach of the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy in Bangalore, expressed concern that his ward had developed a bent to calm down and make errors when firmly within the driver’s seat. He identified how the teen had accomplished precisely the identical factor within the second sport of the 2018 Thomas Cup tie in opposition to France’s Toma Popov.

“Lakshya was coasting comfortably to a win, at 19-11 within the second sport after profitable the primary, when he misplaced focus and allowed Popov to pocket ten factors in a row and bag the second sport,” Vimal stated. “He was in management within the third sport and may by no means have allowed that match to go to a 3rd. His model is to assault and get to the online quick and he ought to have shortened the rallies.

“Equally, Naraoka might have been too quick for Lakshya within the first sport, however Lakshya managed the tempo of the second very effectively, to construct up a robust 12-Three lead. He nonetheless allowed Naraoka to shut the hole and received the second sport solely at 21-15. However after main 11-Zero within the decider, I merely cannot perceive how he let Naraoka again into the match. Lakshya must curb this tendency to let his opponent again right into a match he has assumed full management over.”

Vimal felt it was this laxness that price Lakshya the gold medal. The additional factors that he had needed to play and the extra time he had needed to spend on court docket in opposition to Naraoka instructed within the last in opposition to Li Shifeng, who had breezed by way of his personal semi-final in opposition to Frenchman Arnaud-Sylvain Andre Merkle by a 21-7, 21-12 margin.

“It’s removed from simple to recuperate after robust back-to-back matches,” stated Vimal. “There may be lactic acid accumulation within the participant’s muscle mass and this must be taken out, utilizing ice packs and different physiotherapy methods. Lakshya had group coach Sanjay Mishra in attendance however didn’t have a physio to assist him recuperate from that robust semi-final, in time for the ultimate.

“I might make out from his actions on the court docket that he was initially stiff and sore. This eased out as the ultimate progressed and, had Lakshya managed to win the second sport (which Li received at 21-19), he would have received the third, as a result of I might see his sluggishness was gone. I charge Lakshya a greater participant than both Li or Naraoka, however he sorely missed the providers of a physio.”

It’s a undeniable fact that the Chinese language groups by no means enterprise out on to the worldwide circuit with out satisfactory backup employees within the type of coaches, bodily trainers, masseurs, physiotherapists and group managers who handle each little requirement of the gamers. Lots of the different high badminton nations have copied this Chinese language custom in latest occasions however India proceed to enterprise into world competitors with out correct help employees.

And that’s how Lakshya Sen misplaced out in his quest for the Youth Olympics gold. Such alternatives do not come usually and, within the case of the Olympics, they arrive solely as soon as each 4 years. Lakshya will get no additional possibilities to win this explicit gold, though he nonetheless has two years through which to win the world junior crown.

Postscript: It behoved to the Almora native’s credit score that he didn’t return from Argentina with out the yellow metallic. Lakshya additionally competed within the combined group occasion and helped Workforce Alpha win the gold medal. Granted that the format of this competitors is extra gimmicky and fun-promoting than the intense battle for the person occasion titles. Nonetheless, an Olympic gold is an Olympic gold!

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