India’s Suhas Yathiraj pocketed the silver medal in men’s singles SL4 para badminton tournament at the Tokyo Paralympics on Sunday.
Suhas Yathiraj put up a valiant effort against the top seed and reigning world champion Lucas Mazur of France in the final but eventually lost 21-15, 17-21, 15-21.
At the Yoyogi National Stadium, the Indian para shuttler began well but couldn’t keep up with the imposing Frenchman. His silver medal was India’s 18th medal at Tokyo 2020.
Lucas Mazur, who beat the Indian in straight games in the group stages, was the second best in the initial exchanges as the 38-year-old Suhas Yathiraj raced to a 11-8 lead at the break.
The Indian shuttler, who also serves as the District Magistrate in Uttar Pradesh, made his advantage count and took the opening game 21-15.
Suhas Yathiraj continued to impress in the second game as well and managed another 11-8 lead heading into the midway break.
But this time, the Frenchman responded in fine fashion to win nine of the final 11 points of the game and drew parity. With the score 1-1, the match went into the decider.
The third game was an entertaining affair with both shuttlers producing some fine badminton. Lucas Mazur troubled Suhas Yathiraj with his powerful smashes but the Indian para shuttler put up a tenacious front to win his points.
Lucas Mazur, a two world para badminton champion, however, managed to use his experience to see off Suhas Yathiraj’s challenge and secured the Paralympic title.
Earlier, another Indian, Tarun Dhillon, fell short of securing a bronze medal in the men’s singles SL4 class following a 17-21, 11-21 loss to Indonesia’s Fredy Setiawan.