Reigning Asian junior champion Lakshya Sen will spearhead India’s campaign at the BWF World Junior Badminton Championships at Markham, Canada starting Monday.
The 14-day championships, starting with team action continues until November 10 and will be followed by individual events, beginning from November 11 to 18.
The 23-member squad will look up to Lakshya, the world junior No. 4, to lead the mixed team’s podium charge for the first-ever medal from the Worlds since it was included in the year 2000.
China, who won the title in the last edition, have been seeded No. 1, followed by Indonesia at No. 2, while South Korea and Thailand share the third spot.
India have been seeded No. 5 and are placed in group E alongside Algeria, Faroe Islands, Kenya, and Sri Lanka. The group gives the Indian squad a great opportunity to make it to the quarterfinals.
The Canada world event is the opportunity that most of the current junior crop, including Kiran George, Priyanshu Rajawat, Alap Mishra among boys and Malvika Bansod and Gayatri Gopichand in girls, would like to use as the springboard to enhance their reputation.
“I know how important the world championships are for all of us. Personally, I have a lot of responsibility and I would do all that is possible to give my best shot at the medals, both at team event as well as in individuals,” Lakshya said.
There are 41 teams in the fray and they have been divided into eight groups of five teams each with the top group split into A1 and A2, each having three teams.
The group matches will be played on round-robin league basis with the group leader making the cut for Stage II, which is the knockout round.
India’s best show so far at the World Juniors was in 2008, when Saina Nehwal won the only gold.