Badminton is in Lakshya Sen’s genes. At four, he picked up the racquet to play with grandfather Chandra Sen, a national-level player. It helped that father Dhirendra Kumar was a coach at the Sports Authority of India in Almora and that he had a training partner in elder brother Chirag.,Badminton is in Lakshya Sen’s genes. At four, he picked up the racquet to play with grandfather Chandra Sen, a national-level player. It helped that father Dhirendra Kumar was a coach at the Sports Authority of India in Almora and that he had a training partner in elder brother Chirag. “As a kid, I never thought it would be a career,” he says. “I just loved the sport, so I started playing.”While playing in a junior level tournament in Bengaluru, the Sen brothers were spotted by former national champion U. Vimal Kumar, now director at the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy. Kumar recalls that Chirag was selected from a trial camp while Lakshya, then 10, was deemed too young to be parted from his parents. But the kid had a mind of his own and the brothers finally moved to Bengaluru to avail the better facilities and learn from the legendary Padukone himself. “From a young age, he had the ability to keep the shuttle in play,” says Kumar. “He doesn’t give away easy points.” Olympic Gold Quest has been supporting him since the age of 11. Their investment has paid off. Sen had a standout 2018 where apart from being crowned Asian Junior champion, he won silver at the Youth Olympic Games and bronze at the World Junior Badminton Championship. All eyes are now on whether he can transition seamlessly to the senior level. “I am excited and a bit nervous,” says the teenager. Foremost on his mind is building stamina to play longer matches to keep up with more experienced and stronger players.advertisement”We won’t push him,” says Kumar. “We will give him the opportunity to compete and if he is able to perform and qualify (for 2020), it’ll be a bonus. But we have to be realistic. If everything goes well, he should be contesting and medal ready for 2024.” Sen, though, is eager and has set his sights on 2020.Indians will get their first glimpse of Sen’s stylish play at the Premier Badminton League where he makes his debut with Pune 7 Aces. “I am very excited about watching Carolina Marina and Mathias Boe (Danish doubles player) up close and playing in the same team,” says Sen. Even as he sets his sights on senior glory, Sen also hopes to feast on momos every Sunday. After all, you can move a boy from the hills but you can’t change his tastes.