Unseeded Chirag Sen was not the favourite when the 85th Badminton Senior National Championships started but the 25-year-old defeated fourth seeded Tharun M to clinch his maiden title in Sunday.
Emerging from shadows of his much accomplished younger brother Lakshya Sen, Chirag Sen has delivered at the senior national circuit after playing for past few years.
Chirag on Sunday beat fourth seed M Tharun 21-14 13-21 21-9 in the final to win the national crown in Guwahati which Lakshya could never win, having finished second best twice in 2017 and 2019.
“It came a bit late but I am really happy to finally win this. I have been playing well for the last 3-4 months but now got that breakthrough. I am looking forward to start doing well in international circuit also,” Chirag, a winner of 2020 Kenya International challenge, told PTI.
The brothers share a great bond after starting their career together at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy as kids.
After Lakshya lost to Bharat Raghav in quarters, he stayed back to support his elder brother for the finals.
Currently ranked 97 in the world, Chirag said,“He waited for my final after cancelling his 9 pm flight to Bengaluru. He was sitting behind me along with my dad during semifinal and final and it motivated me and helped me a lot.”
The Uttarakhand shuttler, who started playing men’s doubles as well in 2023, said he lost his confidence after facing losses in the senior circuit.
“It was about confidence. I was lacking in that earlier. When I started in the senior circuit I had faced a lot of losses and I didn’t have any confidence,” said Chirag, who will be playing in Iran and Sri Lanka next.
Chirag will have Lakshya as a sparring partner as he gears up for the Asian tour, including the Malaysia Open (super 1000), India Open (super 750) and Indonesia Masters (super 500).