Check out the latest set of India’s budding stars who can rule the badminton world in the coming years
India’s badminton is witnessing a golden era for a decade now. Since Saina Nehwal reached the quarterfinals of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, India has seen an upward trajectory in badminton. Indian shuttlers went on to win medals at Olympics, Commonwealth Games, World Championships and several other global competitions. This decade also saw the emergence of PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, Parupalli Kashyap, Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponnappa, B.Sai Praneeth, HS Prannoy and many more. Saina brought the spotlight on the women’s game and Sindhu took over the mantle from her. Among the men, Srikanth stood the tallest. But who will take over the mantle from them?
Below is the list of shuttlers who can keep India’s tricolour flying high:
Former Junior World No.1 Lakshya Sen has all the qualities Indian badminton is looking for as a future star. It’s very rare to see a 19-year-old with such good agility, speed, and reflexes.
He has already won silver and gold in the singles and mixed team events respectively at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. Sen has gold and a bronze at Asia Junior Championships and has another bronze at World Junior Championships.
Another trainee of the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy, Lakshya has the required skill set to emerge as the next promising badminton player in the country.
At just the age of 18, Maisnam Meiraba is one of the best young talents in the Indian badminton circuit. Leading the U-19 Indian rankings, the Manipur lad has three international titles under his belt.
Maisnam has won the Bangladesh Junior International Series, Russia Open International Championships and Korea Junior Open International Challenge. He also reached semifinals in Singapore Youth International Series.
With age at his side, Meiraba is another product of the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy and he has all the makings of a world-class shuttler.
The No.1 ranked shuttler in the U-19 girls’ singles category in India, Tasnim Mir is the country’s biggest child prodigy. It is hard to phantom the idea that she has already won numerous accolades at just the age of 15.
In 2018, Tasnim won both the U-15 and U-17 singles titles at the All India Sub Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament and also bagged the gold in the women’s doubles at the Badminton Asia Junior Championships.
She also secured a bronze medal at the Dutch Junior International 2020 in March. All the early signs are pointing in the right direction for her to become the next big thing in Indian badminton.
At the age of 20, Rituparna Das won her maiden National Championship to announce her arrival. Till date she has won three titles and has finished runner-up a further three times.
Among the second place finishes, the 2019 Italian International was a tournament to remember for the now 24-year-old. She was eventually beaten by the renowned global star Carolina Marin yet the defeat can’t take away her impressive outing in the competition.
At one point, she seemed to be the next best thing after Sindhu and Saina, but her rankings dipped of late. With plenty of years to get her form back, Rituparna could yet be labelled a star in the making!