India's Lakshya Sen crowned new Badminton Asia junior champion
India Thomas Cupper Lakshya Sen earned an early 17th birthday present when he defeated Thailand's top seed and world No 1 Kunlavut Vitidsarn 21-19, 21-18 in the final to be crowned the new Asian Junior (Under-19) champion in the Badminton Asia Junior Championships in Bintaro, Jakarta on Sunday.
Lakshya, who turns 17 on Aug 16, was seeded sixth but played one his best matches to take the title to add to the bronze medal he won in Bangkok two years ago.
He became the third Indian player to win the Asian junior title after Gautam Thakkar (1965) and P.V. Sindhu (2012).
In the process of his win, Lakshya also broke the heart of Kunlavut who was looking at adding the Under-19 title to the Under-15 and Under-17 titles he won previously.
"Lakshya played very well and serves to win the title. Kunlavut had a poor game and did not play his normal game," said Thailand coach Udom Luangphetcharaporn.
Lakshya, the former world junior number one, said: "I was confident of winning the title this time. My game improved with every match and it gave me the confidence I needed.
"This is an early birthday present for my (turns 17 on Aug 16). It is also a big boost for me for the Youth Olympics (Argentina) and World Junior Championships (Canada)."
Among those who congratulated Lakshya for his win was Indonesian badminton legend Rudy Hartono, an eight-time All England champion.
Lakshya Sen (Ind) beat Kunlavut Vitidsarn (Tha) 21-19, 21-18