Tokyo Paralympics badminton: India’s Pramod Bhagat wins gold, Manoj Sarkar bags bronze

Pramod Bhagat, a three-time world champion, won the gold medal in men’s singles SL3 class with a straight games win over Great Britain’s Daniel Bethell.

By Naveen Peter
Picture by Kiyoshi Ota/ Getty Images

Indian para badminton player Parmod Bhagat beat Daniel Bethell of Great Britain to win the gold medal in men’s singles SL3 at the Tokyo Paralympics on Saturday.

With badminton marking its Paralympic debut at Tokyo, Pramod Bhagat also became the first-ever Paralympic champion in his category.

The three-time world champion took 45 minutes to register a 21-14, 21-17 win against Daniel Bethell. The two, incidentally, also faced off in the 2019 World Para Badminton Championships final, where the Indian also won.

Having dropped just one game at Tokyo 2020 heading into the gold medal match, Pramod Bhagat made a confident start and had his opponent on the ropes.

The Indian shuttler banked on his powerful smashes and cheeky drop shots to stretch Daniel Bethell. Pramod Bhagat managed a 11-8 lead at the mid game interval and from there, controlled the match to take the opening game 21-14.

Playing against the drift, Daniel Bethell started the second game on a positive note to open up a 11-4 lead before the midway interval.

Though it looked like the Brit could force a decider, world champion Pramod Bhagat roared back with five back-to-back points. The Indian athlete kicked on and secured the gold medal.

Meanwhile, at the adjacent court, Pramod Bhagat’s compatriot Manoj Sarkar beat Daisuke Fujihara of Japan 22-20, 21-13 to clinch the bronze medal in the category.

The 31-year-old Indian shuttler dug deep in the opening game before cruising through the second and added a Paralympic medal to his impressive career accomplishments.

The two badminton medals helped the Indian contingent take its Tokyo medals count to 17 medals, which include four gold, seven silver and six bronze.