Sao Paulo (Brazil): Ace Indian shuttler Pramod Bhagat clinched two gold medals as Indian Para badminton players returned home with a rich haul of 10 medals from Brazil Para Badminton International Championships.
World No. 1 Bhagat picked up the gold medals in men’s singles SL3 and men’s doubles SL3-SL4 categories along with Manoj Sarkar and, thus accumulated the important ranking points towards the qualification to Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, where Para Badminton will make its debut.
“It’s great to start off the year on a strong note. Winning the golds here gave me a lot of confidence and I feel good now looking ahead in the Road to Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Last year, I had to settle for the silver in the Tokyo 2020 test event in Japan. It was disappointing,” Bhagat told Paralympic Committee of India.
Top seed Bhagat first defeated his compatriot Sarkar, seeded two, in a thrilling men’s singles final 22-20, 23-21 before combining with the latter to pull off a comfortable 21-11, 21-7 win over China’s Chen Xiaoyu and Gao Yuyang in men’s doubles SL 3-SL 4 event.
The other gold medallist for India was Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj who put up a brilliant performance to succeed in a nail-biting men’s singles SL4 final. Yathiraj came back from a game down to shock France’s top seed Lucas Mazur 9-21, 21-16, 21-19 in three games.
Seasoned SL3 player Parul D Parmar’s efforts weren’t enough in front of Turkey’s Halime Yildiz as she faltered 9-21, 14-21.
In men’s singles SS6 final, Krishna Nagar too settled for the silver going down to local player Vitor Gon alves Tavares 18-21, 19-21.
The other two silver medals came in doubles events – Prem Kumar with Russian Partner in Mixed Double WH1 – WH2, Rajkumar & Rakesh Pandey in Men’s Double SU5. In mixed doubles SU5-SL3, Parmar along with Rajkumar took the bronze, thus making her chances of booking a Tokyo 2020 ticket stronger.