Lakshya Sen to train with former India shuttler Anup Sridhar

Lakshya Sen to train with former India shuttler Anup Sridhar

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In a hectic season that kicks off with the Malaysia Open Super 1000 on Tuesday, Olympic shuttler Anup Sridhar has been brought on board to support Commonwealth Games champion Lakshya Sen in his quest to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics; something that every player would target this season.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics competitor and 2007 Thomas Cup team leader Sridhar, 39, will be travelling with Sen to the Asian competitions this month. "I have been training with him (Anup Sridhar) for the last 3 weeks now. He and my dad (DK Sen) will be travelling with me for all three Asian events, starting with Malaysia," Sen told PTI.

"It is in an early stage, we are getting to know each other on the court. Overall, he will be a great help in planning the sessions and strategising. "He is immensely experienced and has played at the highest level. So Prakash (Padukone) sir and Vimal sir decided to have him join the team. There are a lot of tournaments this season. It is also a pre-Olympic year. Malaysia Open is my first tournament with him. So really looking forward to it."

After two-time doubles Olympic medalist Yong Sung Yoo of Korea left after the World Championships in August, the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) recruited Sridhar, who had won a bronze in the mixed team competition at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

"He left four weeks after the World Championships. He was a committed coach but communication was bit of a problem. We wanted to give it a try for 8-10 months but it wasn't working out," said Vimal Kumar, co-founder, director and chief coach of PPBA.

"Anup has trained with us during his playing days. So we thought to give it a try. He will be there with Lakshya (Sen) during the tournaments, analysing matches and strategies. The Olympic qualification process will also start in May, so it was important. "We will review after the Asian events at end of this month. We will get a clear idea by then. Anup will also get to know Lakhsya better and if it works out, we will take it further."

World No. 10 Sen and Sridhar, together with former World No. 2 Anders Antonsen of Denmark and Sameer Verma of India, were in Dubai for a two-week training camp. The Malaysia Super 1000 (January 10-15), India Super 750 (January 17-23), Indonesia Masters Super 500 (January 24-29), and Thailand Masters Super 300 events are all part of the Asian circuit (January 31-February 5).

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