Lakshya Sen set to debut at the Olympics in Paris 2024 : A look at his qualification journey

Lakshya Sen has qualified for the Olympics for the first time. The 22-year-old from Almora, Uttarakhand secured his spot at the Olympics by finishing 13th in the Road to Paris rankings, thus ensuring his Paris Olympic qualification.

He ensured India's participation in the Olympics for the first time since 2004 with two men's singles player representatives. Lakshya Sen, despite facing fitness issues, improved his performance to qualify for the Olympics.

Lakshya underwent nose surgery in 2022 due to a deviated nasal septum. The condition led to frequent episodes of fever. As a result, his fitness was hampered causing him to struggle on the tour.

How did Lakshya Sen qualify for the Paris Olympics 2024?

Lakshya Sen set to debut at the Olympics in Paris 2024 : A look at his qualification journey
Lakshya Sen (Credits - BWF)

Sen secured his Paris Olympics qualification by finishing 13th in the Race to Paris, earning 64021 points. The Race to Paris is ranked among the top 10 tournaments during the Olympic cycle’s qualification period. The period commenced on May 1, 2023, and ended on April 28, 2024.

Lakshya Sen’s journey to Paris Olympics 2024

Lakshya Sen gained prominence on the senior circuit after the Tokyo Olympics. In 2021, he won his first World Championships medal, where he lost to his compatriot Srikanth Kidambi and thus won the bronze medal. In the year 2022, he won the India Open which was his first Super 500 title.

He reached three consecutive finals on the World Tour at the start of the year, including the India Open, the German Open, and the All-England Open 2022. He also defeated the World No. 1, Viktor Axelsen at the German Open. He then reached the final of the prestigious All-England Open. He played a crucial role in India's victory against Indonesia in the Thomas Cup final. It was his win against Anthony Sinisuka Ginting which gave India a head-start.

Lakshya Sen set to debut at the Olympics in Paris 2024 : A look at his qualification journey
Lakshya Sen (Credits - Olympics)

He also won the Commonwealth Games gold medal defeating Ng Tze Yong of Malaysia by 19-21, 21-9, 21-16.  He achieved a career-high ranking of World Ranking 6 in 2022. However, after the 2022 World Championships, things fell apart when he underwent nose surgery to treat his deviated nasal septum. Lakshya experienced frequent health issues following his surgery. His immunity became weak and he had frequent bouts of fever. His fitness was a significant concern, leading to a poor 2023 performance.

He had 11 first round exits in 2023 and seven consecutive first round exits on the World Tour after winning the Canada Open and finishing third at the US Open. Even the start of 2024 was not great. He lost in the opening round of the Malaysia Open and India Open, which made it nine consecutive first round exits on the World Tour. Sen's chances of qualifying for the Olympics were nearly impossible until a sudden shift occurred.

Lakshya has been enhancing his fitness for a considerable period, and the progress has begun to be noticeable. He showed signs of improvement at the Indonesia Masters, where he defeated Weng Hong Yang of China in the first round and even though he lost in the second round to Anders Antonsen, he performed well and appeared to be regaining his momentum.

At the Badminton Asia Team Championships, Lakshya Sen played three matches and won all of them in straight games. Then the turning point occurred with back-to-back semi-final finishes at the French and All-England tournaments. Sen had to excel at these two tournaments to stand a chance to qualify and he also got favorable draws.

 At the French Open, he defeated Kanta Tsuneyama in the opening round, Li Shi Feng his junior rival in the second round and Loh Kean Yew in the quarter-finals. He eventually lost to Kunlavut Vitidsarn in three games in the semi-finals.

At the prestigious All-England Open he defeated Magnus Johannesen in Round 1 convincingly and then made a really good comeback in the second round against Anders Antonsen. He then defeated Lee Zii Jia in the quarter-finals and lost to Jonatan Christie in the semi-finals in three games. This secured his place at the Paris Olympics.

Major Achievements of his Badminton Career

  • 2021 World Championships bronze medal.
  • 2022 Commonwealth Games gold in individual and silver medal in mixed team event.
  • 2022 Asian Games silver medal in men’s team event.
  • Career best ranking of WR 6.
  • 2010 Youth Olympics silver medal.
  • 2008 World Junior Championships bronze medal.
  • 2018 Asian Junior Championships gold medal.
  • Part of 2022 Thomas Cup winning team.
  • India Open, Canada Open Super 500 winner, All-England Open runner-up.


Cover Credits - BWF Official

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