The twelfth day at the Tokyo Paralympics 2021 has been extraordinary for India. The day witnessed two gold medals, one in badminton while the other in mixed 50m pistol SH1 along with the bronze and silver medals in the respective categories. The entire nation is honoring the exceptional achievements of our Paralympic warriors.
Pramod Bhagat stood at the top of the podium on Saturday when he brought home the first-ever gold in badminton for the country. The four-time world champion bagged the gold at Tokyo by defeating Great Britain’s Daniel Bethel, the second seed 21-14, 21-17 in the final of men’s singles SL3 category.
In the same category, Manoj Sarkar secured the bronze medal for India by defeating Japan’s Daisuke Fujihara 22-20, 21-13. He has won numerous medals at the Para-Badminton World Championships and Asian Games, and currently holds the third position in the world rankings of the SL3 category.
It is the inaugural occasion when badminton is being played at the Paralympics. India’s Pramod Bhagat and Manoj Sarkar capitalized on the opportunity of a life time and achieved the milestones at Tokyo on Day 12.
After winning the match for the greatest feat, Pramod Bhagat said, “This is very special to me, it’s my dream come true. Bethel pushed me but I just kept my calm and played to my strengths.
Bhagat dedicated his astounding achievement to his parents and his supporters. He said he has made India proud and he is extremely happy about that.
Bhagat also mentioned when he had lost to Bethel two years ago in Japan, and how he learned from that experience. Given the same stadium and environment, Bhagat revealed that he had devised a strategy for his rival and was determined to win.
Securing two golds at the BWF Para World Championships in 2019, Bhagat is one of the most decorated players in the SL3 category. Currently, he is ranked no.1 in the World Rankings.
Background of Bhagat
Born in the small town of Attabira in Odisha, Parmod Bhagat developed a defect in his left leg at the age of five due to polio. Despite this, his passion and enthusiasm for sports were unshakable.
He loved to play cricket in his childhood and was a good opening batsman in the local tournaments. He further developed an inclination towards badminton in his early teenage years.
When he was 14, he used to go to a nearby playground after finishing his studies to watch his school seniors playing badminton. Soon after, he started to train with his seniors to learn the game.
He made speedy progress in the training and soon became a district champion. This made him decide to become a professional badminton player.
The credits for shaping a passionate boy with a defect in his left leg into a professional para-athlete go to his first-ever coach, S.P. Das.