These youngsters are capable of winning big trophies for the country in future.
The stature of badminton in India keeps on growing with each passing year. As the sport continues to gather popularity and the overall structure surrounding it is gradually improving, a lot of young kids want to now grow up playing the game and possibly take it up as a profession.
The likes of Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu have led the way on the international arena in the last decade, providing moments of immense joy to the nation with their exploits. On that note, let us look at a few young Indian starlets that have shown great promise and could similarly produce the goods on the biggest stages in the future.
5. Rohan Gurbani
Rohan Gurbani is a promising youngster, touted by many for greater things in his career. A product of the Prakash Padukone academy, the 17-year-old is ranked second in the Junior U-19 Boys singles rankings in India besides ranking 20th in the Junior BWF rankings. The Nagpur lad is also a former Sub-Junior (U-15 & U-17) National Champion.
The young shuttler finished as the runner-up in the Under-19 boys singles during the 44th Junior National Badminton Championship, held earlier this year in Andhra Pradesh. He provided a glowing account of himself by not losing a single game en route to the finals of the tournament. However, the teenager suffered a defeat to the tournament favourite Maisnam Meiraba, despite putting in a gritty performance.
Moreover, Gurbani was one of the few names that were picked for the BWF World Junior U-19 Badminton Championship in Russia last year. Considering the impact he has made and his evident talent, it would be fair to assume that the kid has an incredibly bright future ahead of him.
4. Varun Kapur
Varun Kapur has grabbed plaudits on the back of his remarkable performances last year. The 17-year-old is currently ranked fourth in the BWF junior rankings, underlining the progress he has made since bursting onto the scene. The teenage sensation astoundingly reached the finals of six BWF tournaments during the course of 2019.
Among those, he won gold medals at the Valamar Junior Open in Croatia, the Cyprus Junior, and the Lithuanian Junior whilst finishing runners-up in the Russia Junior, Dubai Junior, and Portugal Junior. Furthermore, Kapur carried that sumptuous form into 2020, grabbing a silver medal at the Hungarian International Junior and is even sponsored now by the Virat Kohli Foundation. The shuttler has all the tools in his locker to become a household name in the world of badminton.
3. Tasnim Mir
At the age of 15, Tasnim Mir is a bonafide child prodigy and all the signs so far suggest that she is destined to become a badminton superstar in the coming years. The No.1 ranked shuttler in the U-19 girls’ singles rankings, the talented youngster already has a plethora of accolades to her name.
Back in 2018, she won both the U-15 and U-17 singles titles, following that up with a gold medal at the Badminton Asia Junior U-15 and U-17 Championships.
Last year, she triumphed in the Dubai Junior International Series singles title, further cementing her status as one of the most promising young talents in the country. Before things went sour earlier this year, Tasmin picked up a bronze medal for her country at the Dutch Junior International 2020 in March, a sight that is certain to become a lot more common in the future.
2. Maisnam Meiraba
The latest sporting ace to emerge from the NorthEast region, there are big expectations from Maisnam Meiraba with many hoping that he could become an important figure for the nation on the international scene in the sport. Still 17, he has many years to hone his skills as the teenager continues to make a great impression with each appearance on the court.
Holding top rank in the U-19 Indian rankings and placed second in the BWF Junior rankings, Meiraba also has three international titles under his belt. The Manipur lad has won the Bangladesh Junior International Series, Russia Open International Championships and Korea Junior Open International Challenge 2019. The teenage sensation is just getting started and he holds the potential to carve a successful career at the highest level.
1. Lakshya Sen
Former Junior World No.1, Lakshya Sen is considered as the next big thing in badminton. Sen has amassed various accolades, including a silver and a gold medal in the singles and mixed team events respectively at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
Another trainee of the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy, the 19-year-old has the necessary skillset and mental fortitude to get the better of the best in the business. Like he did in 2018 when Sen defeated the then World No.1 Kunlavut Vitidsarn to clinch the 2018 Asian Junior Championships. Additionally, the youngster drew praise from all quarters for spectacularly winning five titles in the space of just three months.
He picked up the two BWF Super 100 titles (SaarLorlux and Dutch Open) and three BWF International Challenge tournaments (Scottish Open, Bangladesh, and Belgian International). Sen has shown repeatedly that he has what it takes to rise to the top of the standings. For now, it remains to be seen if he can fulfil his promise and establish himself as one of the best shuttlers in the world.