Pramod Bhagat clinched a historic gold medal in the badminton singles SL3 event at the Tokyo Paralympics on Saturday. The 33 year-old reigning world champion defeated Great Britain’s Daniel Bethell 21-14, 21-17 in 45 minutes to secure a top podium finish.
Bhagat registered a comfortable win in the first game but had to work hard in the second, making an incredible comeback from 4-12 down to clinching the game and the match.
Manoj Sarkar also bagged a bronze medal in the same category, defeating Japan’s Daisuke Fujihara 22-20 21-13.
Bhagat’s gold was India’s first badminton medal at the Tokyo Paralympics. Earlier today, Bhagat had defeated Japan’s Daisuke Fujihara in straight games to enter the gold medal match.
With badminton making its debut in the Summer Paralympics, Bhagat has also become the first Indian to win a medal in the sport at the Games.
PM Narendra Modi took to Twitter to congratulate Pramod Bhagat and Manoj Sarkar on the historic effort. “Pramod Bhagat has won the hearts of the entire nation. He is a Champion, whose success will motivate millions. He showed remarkable resilience & determination. Congratulations to him for winning the Gold in Badminton. Best wishes to him for his future endeavours. @PramodBhagat83,” PM Modi wrote for the gold medal-winning Bhagat.
The Prime Minister also hailed Manoj Sarkar on the bronze medal finish. “Overjoyed by @manojsarkar07’s wonderful performance. Congrats to him for bringing home the prestigious Bronze Medal in badminton. Wishing in the very best for the times ahead. #Paralympics #Praise4Para,” wrote the PM.
With Bhagat’s gold and Sarkar’s bronze, India’s overall medal tally at the Paralympics has risen up to 17. Bhagat won India’s fourth gold medal at the Games and second of the day, after Manish Narwal also clinched a top podium finish in the mixed 50m pistol SH1 event.
With 4 gold, 7 silver and 6 bronze, India have now jumped to 25th spot in the medal tally.
India have a chance to add to their gold medal tally at the Paralympics, with Suhas Yathiraj (SL4) and Krishna Nagar (SH6) yet to play their respective finals.
Both the players will be playing their singles gold medal matches on Sunday.
Pramod Bhagat has another chance to secure a podium finish in the mixed doubles event, where he will be pairing Palak Kohli for the bronze medal match against the Japanese pair of Akiko Sugino and Daisuke Fujihara on Sunday.