Lakshya Sen, Kiran George advance in Thailand

Jun 02, 2023 12:35 PM IST

Academy mates and friends Lakshya Sen and Kiran George made the last eight of the Super 500 event following straight-game wins at the Indoor Stadium Huamark.

While other Indian shuttlers faltered in the first two rounds of the $420,000 Thailand Open, two Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) boys made the quarter-finals quite comprehensively in Bangkok on Thursday.

India's Lakshya Sen in action(Action Images via Reuters)
India's Lakshya Sen in action(Action Images via Reuters)

Academy mates and friends Lakshya Sen and Kiran George made the last eight of the Super 500 event following straight-game wins at the Indoor Stadium Huamark.

Sen hasn’t had a great run in a tournament since winning the Commonwealth Games in August 2022, making the quarters of some while mostly exiting tournaments in the first couple of rounds. But the world No.23 is playing better in the Thailand capital than he has in recent times.

After beating Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu-wei in the opener, the 21-year-old Sen ousted reigning All England Open champion and Chinese fourth seed Li Shifeng 21-17, 21-15 in 49 minutes. This was Sen’s second win over the world No.12 in seniors as the two have also played multiple matches at the junior level, the most famous being the 2018 Youth Olympics final where the Chinese came out on top.

Sen will be up against Malaysian qualifier Leong Jun Hao with the Indian winning the only encounter between them at the senior level in 2019. If Sen wins on Friday he will enter his first semi-final since Birmingham 2022. Since then the Thomas Cup champion took a break due to a minor surgery for deviated nasal septum.

During this time Sen also split with South Korean coach Yoo Yong-sung in September 2022 due to communication issues. PPBA then roped in Anup Sridhar in January to train the youngster.

Kiran, on the other hand, is in the middle of an incredible run in Bangkok. After winning two matches and getting a walkover in the qualifiers, the 23-year-old stunned Chinese third seed Shi Yuqi in the opener. On Thursday he went a step better to oust China’s Weng Hongyang, who reached the Malaysia Masters final last week, 21-11, 21-19 in 39 minutes and will next face Toma Junior Popov of France.

“I am very pleased for Kiran. He has not had any great results in the last one year even though he has been training well. He is one of the players identified by us 10 years back along with Lakshya, Mithun Manjunath and Meiraba Luwang Maisnam,” said U Vimal Kumar, head coach of PPBA.

“Kiran is on a Chinese destruction spree. He beat the Chinese No.1 yesterday and today beat the Chinese who was in the final last week in Malaysia. Hopefully, these wins can give him the necessary impetus to get to the elite level in the coming months. I strongly feel that Kiran, Priyanshu Rajawat and Mithun along with Lakshya can take over from HS Prannoy and Kidambi Srikanth.”

Satwik-Chirag lose

Meanwhile, it was the end of the road for men’s doubles top seeds and former champions Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty who lost to the Indonesian pairing of Muhammad Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana 26-24, 11-21, 17-21 in one hour and two minutes. This was the Indian pair’s first loss in four meetings against the world No.14 combine.

Earlier, former winner Saina Nehwal lost to Chinese third seed He Bingjiao 11-21, 14-21 while Spanish fourth seed Carolina Marin beat qualifier Ashmita Chaliha 21-18, 21-13.


    From badminton to cricket, Sandip Sikdar writes on many sporting disciplines. He has the experience of working in digital, news agency as well as print organisations. Motorsport remains his first love.

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