Tokyo Paralympics: Pramod Bhagat wins first ever badminton gold for India

India’s Pramod Bhagat won the Men’s Singles SL3 event badminton gold medal match against Great Britain’s Daniell Bethell at the Tokyo Paralympics on Saturday. This is India’s first medal in badminton at the Paralympics Games. Manoj Sarkar beat Daisuke Fujihara of Japan and clinched the Bronze medal in the same category.

So far, India has won 17 medals at the Paralympics – four gold, seven silver and six bronze medals.

Bhagat was 8 points behind in the second game before making a comeback and wrapping up the match 21-14, 21-17.

The 33-year-old Bhagat from Bhubaneswar also remains in contention for a bronze medal in mixed doubles SL3-SU5 class. Bhagat and his partner Palak Kohli will square off against Japanese pair of Daisuke Fujihara and Akiko Sugino in the bronze medal play off on Sunday.

They had lost the semifinals 3-21 15-21 to Indonesian combination of Hary Susanto and Leani Ratri Oktila earlier in the day.

Bhagat, who had contracted polio when he was 4 years old, picked up the sports 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 2018 Asian Para Games.

He also had started his career as a badminton coach but took a break in 2019 to focus on Tokyo Paralympics qualification.

In 2019, he received the Arjuna Award and Biju Patnaik Award for Excellence in Sports in India.

Earlier in the day, Suhas Yathiraj and Krishna Nagar also sailed into the men’s singles finals of SL4 class and SH6 class respectively.