Pramod Bhagat wins first-ever Paralympic gold for India in badminton
Pramod Bhagat has won the first-ever Paralympic medal for India in badminton. The Indian clinched the gold medal after beating Great Britain's Daniel Bethell in the men's singles SL3 final at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. World number one, Bhagat, had earlier assured India of a medal in Tokyo after beating Japan's Daisuke Fujihara in straight games. Here are the key details.
World's top-two players, Bhagat and Bethell, were on the charge right from the start. Although Bethell gained an early lead, the Indian held his nerves to make a comeback. Bhagat tired out Bethell thereafter and won the first game 21-14. The former staged another comeback in the second game after trailing. He won consecutive points to close the set 21-17.
Bhagat had secured a 21-11, 21-16 win over Fujihara Daisuke in men's singles SL3 semi-finals. Bhagat became the first Indian to qualify for the gold-medal clash in badminton (Paralympics) as the sport is making its debut at the Games this year.
Bhagat had contracted polio at the age of five, which affected his left leg. In the 2018 Asian Para Games, he won a gold (singles) and a bronze medal (doubles). A year later, Bhagat had won gold medals in both singles and doubles events at the World Championships. He also won gold at the IWAS World Games in 2019 (singles and doubles).
Moments after Bhagat's historic win, Manoj Sarkar secured the bronze medal in the men's singles SL3 badminton event. He defeated Japan's Daisuke Fujihara in straight games, 22-20, 21-13. Manoj had lost his first match to compatriot Bhagat. However, he won his match against Oleksandr Chyrkov. In the semi-finals, Manoj lost to Bethell and qualified for the bronze medal match.
Bhagat extended India's tally of gold medals at the ongoing Tokyo Paralympics to four. Interestingly, India had won as many gold medals before this edition. Earlier in the day, shooter Manish Narwal won gold in the mixed 50m pistol SH1 event. The likes of Avani Lekhara (shooting) and Sumit Antil (athletics) are the other gold-medalists from India in Tokyo.