Pramod Bhagat shines on a disappointing day for India at Tokyo Paralympics

The three-time world champion para badminton player began his Tokyo 2020 campaign with a straight games win while others in the Indian contingent struggled.

By Naveen Peter

Indian shuttlers endured a mixed day at the Tokyo 2020 Para Games as badminton made its Paralympic Games debut on Wednesday.

In the group stage action which began at the Yoyogi National Stadium, Pramod Bhagat was the only Indian athlete to register a win in his opening round match.

In the men’s singles SL3 Group A match, the three-time world champion beat compatriot Manoj Sarkar 21-10, 23-21, 21-9. The 33-year-old Pramod Bhagat is the top seed in the category.

Top two shuttlers at the end of the group stages will qualify for the knockout round at Tokyo 2020.

Earlier in the day, Pramod Bhagat, along with Palak Kohli, came close to registering an upset win over the world No. 2 Lucas Mazur and Faustine Noel of France in mixed doubles SL3-SU5 division.

In their Group B match, the Indian duo struggled to match up to their opponents in the opening game, losing it 21-9. But Pramod Bhagat and Palak Kohli grew in confidence and took the second 21-15 to force a decider.

In the third game, the Indians went toe-to-toe with their opponents but eventually fell short and lost the match 21-9, 15-21, 21-19.

Palak Kohli, meanwhile, lost her opening match in the women's singles SU5 category too.

Up against the top seed, Ayako Suzuki of Japan, the 19-year-old Indian badminton player struggled to make her mark and lost the match 21-4, 21-7.

Indian shooters miss their mark

At the Asaka shooting range, no Indians could qualify for the medal round in the mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1 event.

Olympic champion in the women’s 10m air rifle SH1, Avani Lekhara, was India’s best performing shooter as she finished 27th in the qualification with a total score of 629.7.

Sidhartha Babu was 40th with a score of 625.5 while Deepak came in 43rd with a total of 624.9.

Swimmer Suyash Jadhav, meanwhile, was disqualified from the men’s 100m breaststroke - SB7 final. The 27-year-old Indian athlete came in seventh in the medal race, but was later disqualified for inconsistent strokes.

Later in the day, club throwers Amit Kumar and Dharambir too drew a blank in the men's club throw - F51 final.

Amit Kumar was placed fifth with a best throw of 27.77 meters while Dharambir finished last with an effort of 25.59 metres.