India has yet again bagged another gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics after Indian shuttler Pramod Bhagat won the gold medal in the Badminton Men’s Singles (SL3) event. He defeated Great Britain’s Daniel Bethell 21-14, 21-17 to win the final in Japan.
The match lasted a total of 45 minutes, with Bhagat taking the first game in 21 minutes and the second in 24 minutes. In the first half, the world’s number one player, Bhagat scored 21-14. In the second half, Bethell came out with all guns blazing. He stormed to a 12-6 lead to put the Indian under pressure. However, Pramod fought back to draw level at 15-15. He managed to win the second game 21-17 in 24 minutes and secure another gold medal for India.
The journey of Pramod in the 2021 Paralympics got off to a dream start in Group A. On his way to the semifinals, he defeated fellow countryman Manoj Sarkar 21-10, 21-23,21-9, and Ukraine’s Oleksandr Chyrkov 21-12,21-9. Next, he stormed past Japan’s Daisuke Fujihara 21-11,21-16.
Bhagat and his partner Palak Kohli will square off against Japanese pair of Daisuke Fujihara and Akiko Sugino in the bronze medal playoff on Sunday. They had lost the semifinals 3-21 15-21 to the Indonesian combination of Hary Susanto and Leani Ratri Oktila earlier in the day.
Bhagat had contracted polio when he was 4 years old but picked up the sport after watching his neighbours play. Initially, he competed against able-bodied players before getting into competitive para-badminton in 2006. He eventually emerged as one of the best para shuttlers in the country with 45 international medals under his belt, including four world championship gold medals and a gold and a bronze in the 2018 Asian Para Games.
He also had started his career as a badminton coach but took a break in 2019 to focus on the Tokyo Paralympics qualification. In 2019, he received the Arjuna Award and Biju Patnaik Award for Excellence in Sports in India.