New Delhi, Nov 18: India Teenage badminton star Lakshya Sen clinched a bronze medal at Badminton World Junior Championship in Canada after going down to World No.1 Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand in the semi-finals on Saturday (November 17).
In a match which lasted an hour and 11 minutes, Sen lost 22-20, 16-21, 21-13, to eventually settle for a bronze. The 17-year-old from Almora won the first game but the Thai came back strongly in the second game to level 1-1 and keep his chances alive.
The Indian, who lacked conviction after losing the second game, was unable to gather himself in the decider as the Thai ran up a good lead and maintained it throughout to secure a place in the final.
Sen had defeated Vitidsarn, of the same age, in straight games in the final of the Badminton Asia Junior Championships in July but could not repeat his winning streak on Saturday in Markham, Canada.
As per reports, before this game, Lakshya had only dropped one game over the course of the tournament - to Chinese Taipei's Shiau Cheng Chen - but couldn't continue his winning run.
"I could not get into my usual rhythm, though I managed to win the first game. But he (Kunlavut) was too strong in the second. I could not play to my strong points and my opponent had all answers to my strokes," said the world junior No. 3 shuttler.
Lakshya, who was the last Indian hope in the tournament, began well and in what was a touch-and-go opening game, the Indian seized the opportunity past midway and sealed the extended game in his favour.
Sen's bronze medal is India's only medal in this edition of the World Junior Championship and the first since Sameer Verma's bronze in 2011. B Sai Praneeth and HS Prannoy have also settled for a bronze in Junior Worlds in 2010. Saina Nehwal is the only Indian to have clinched gold, back in 2008.
Defending champion Vitidsarn will now take on Kodai Naraoka in the final. The Japanese had beaten third seed Li Shifeng of China 21-11, 19-21, 21-17 in the other semi-final.