Lakshya Sen parts ways with Anup Sridhar, Vimal Kumar to coach for now

Reigning Commonwealth Games champion Lakshya Sen has parted ways with coach Anup Sridhar and will currently be assisted by childhood coach U Vimal Kumar.

Following his gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Lakshya had been struggling with form especially after a deviated nasal septum surgery in September 2022.(AFP)

“Vimal sir will be travelling with me for now. I am not being coached by Anup anymore,” Lakshya said here on Monday.

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Former India international Anup was roped in by the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy, where Lakshya trains in Bengaluru, to assist the former All England Open runner-up at the start of last year.

Following his gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Lakshya had been struggling with form especially after a deviated nasal septum surgery in September 2022.

He started his recovery process under Anup after several early rounds exits before finally reaching the semi-finals at Thailand Open, US Open and Japan Open. Lakshya ended his year-long title drought when he won the Canada Open – a Super 500 event – at Calgary in July.

It was three weeks ago that Lakshya and Anup had discussions after the season ended and decided to part ways after not being able to achieve the targets they had set together.

“They were probably not being able to understand each other fully which led to the decision. Plus, Lakshya wanted to try out a few things on his own. I was also taken aback with the decision as the arrangement had been made till the Paris Olympics,” said Vimal, who has coached Lakshya since the age of 10 and is also the head coach of PPBA.

“I just feel that these young coaches should coach young players as they just come from the international circuit. But everything comes down to your comfort level. They are still in touch and are good friends.”

Vimal travelled with Lakshya to the Malaysia Open last week, where he suffered a first round loss to China’s Weng Hong Yang, and will also coach Lakshya at the $850,000 India Open which commences here on Tuesday. The national selector is also likely to travel to the European swing of events that commences with the German Open in March.

“It is also very difficult to get a coach at the last minute as most are engaged (ahead of the Olympics). Lakshya just needs to regain his confidence and he will be back to playing like he did in 2022,” added Vimal.

In 2022, Lakshya won the India Open and reached the finals of German Open and All England before clinching the Commonwealth Games gold. He also reached a career-best ranking of world No.6 in November 2022.

Lakshya revealed that the great Padukone will be travelling to some tournaments as he has also started ‘mentoring’ former world champion PV Sindhu. He is likely to travel to a few tournaments with her. “It is not clear when and where Prakash will travel as of now,” said Vimal.

Currently, Lakshya will be looking to regain his form under Vimal at an event which he won two years back. “There were a lot of ups and downs last year and I was lacking consistency. I played really well in a few tournaments but could not continue the form. The last six weeks have been really good though and it is a fresh start for me,” said Lakshya.

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