Joy For Sen Family As Brothers Chirag and Lakshya Named In Indian squad For BATC

From the hilly terrains of Almora to the bylanes of Bangalore and now together in the national team, it has been quite a journey for Sen brothers — Lakshya and Chirag. While Lakshya was the first to make a mark on the international circuit, newly-crowned Senior National champion Chirag on Tuesday joined him in the Indian team for the Badminton Asia Team Championships scheduled to held in Shah Alam, Malaysia from February 13-19. “It is a big moment for us as a family to see both of them in the Indian team. From where they started as kids to reach this stage, I feel quite emotional as a father and as a coach. I feel extremely proud,” an emotional father DK Sen, also an accomplished coach, told PTI from Bengaluru.

“I am yet to speak to them as they are currently in Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysia Open,” added Sen senior, who had stints at NIS Bhopal, Meerut before joining SAI Almora Centre in 1991.

Badminton runs in the Sen family with DK Sen picking up the sport from his father, who won several medals competing in All India Civil services tournaments. He, in fact, played a crucial role in the setting up of the SAI centre in Almora, which has produced some quality players like 2023 national champion Anupama Upadhyaya.

Between the two brothers, it was Chirag who showed early interest in badminton.

“Chirag wanted to be a badminton player, while Lakshya didn’t show any interest initially, but he used to come for training and slowly started picking up the sport.” When DK Sen decided to send his elder son to the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) in Bengaluru, Lakshya too accompanied Chirag but since he was too young then, initially they decided against it but looking at the enthusiasm of the little kid they decided to take both the brothers in.

“Chirag and Lakshya have always been together. They started in Almora under my guidance and then stayed together in PPBA. In fact, Chirag was the one who used to take care of Lakshya when they were alone in Bengaluru. He was always there for him,” DK Sen said.

DK Sen narrates once the two brothers played against each other in an under-13 All India sub-junior ranking boy’s doubles final.

“Chirag had won the match and Lakshya cried a lot as he never liked giving away points but we realised later it was his strength.” Chirag, 25, has been a regular in the domestic circuit for the last few years. He won the 2020 Kenya International challenge but never could get a breakthrough in the senior circuit.

Lakshya, on the other hand, proved his worth early on the junior circuit and had a smooth transition into the seniors, having won two Super 500 titles — India Open and Canada Open –, a 2021 world championships bronze and silver at All England Championships.

For Chirag, the big moment came in Guwahati last month when he went on to win the Senior National champions, a feat which Lakshya couldn’t achieve, having reached the final twice in 2017 and 2019.

In Guwahati, Lakshya made an exit at the quarterfinals but with Chirag reaching the semifinals, he cancelled his flights and stayed back to support his elder brother.

“Right from childhood, they have been very close. Their birthdays may be on different dates but the cake always had both their names and they would cut it together,” DK Sen said.

“There has never been any rivalry between them. They have always shared a strong bonding. I hope they can now make the country proud,” he signed off

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