Three India players, defending world champions Pramod Bhagat, Krishna Nagar and Suhas Yathiraj, advanced to the finals of their respective categories at the Tokyo Paralympics men’s singles badminton on Saturday but Manoj Sarkar and Tarun Dhillon lost in the semi-finals. Indian mixed doubles pair of Bhagat and Palak Kohli lost in the semi-finals of the SL3-SU5 category of badminton at the Paralympic Games. The pair will now challenge for the bronze medal.
Bhagat, 33, world number one and Asian champion, defeated Daisuke Fujihara of Japan 21-11, 21-16 in 36 minutes in the SL3 class. Badminton is being played for the first time in this year’s Paralympics, so Bhagat became the first Indian to reach the gold medal match. He will face Daniel Bethel of Britain. In the SL4 class, Noida District Magistrate Suhas defeated Indonesia’s Freddy Setiawan 21-9, 21-15 in 31 minutes. He will now face top seed Lucas Mazur of France.
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Second seed Nagar defeated Britain’s Christine Coombs 21-10, 21-11 in the SH6 Class semifinals. He will now face Chu Man Kei of Hong Kong. In the second SL4 semi-final, Majur defeated second seed Indian player Dhillon 21-16, 16-21, 21-18 in a close contest. Dhillon, 27, from Hisar will face Setiawan for the bronze medal. Manoj was defeated by second seed Bethel 21-8, 21-10. Manoj will now play Fujihara for the bronze medal.
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In the SL3-SU5 category, the pair of Bhagat and Palak lost 3-21, 15-21 to Harry Susanto and Liene Ratri Aktila of Indonesia. The Indian pair will take on Japan’s Daisuke Fujihara and Akiko Sugino in the bronze medal playoff on Sunday. Earlier, Bhagat registered a resounding victory in the SL3 category men’s singles semi-finals. Half the court is used in this classification, so Bhagat and Fujihara put up long rails. Initially, Bhagat was trailing 2-4 but took an 11-8 lead till the break. After that, maintaining this momentum, won the first game with six consecutive points. In the second game, he did not give any chance to the opponent.
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After the match, Bhagat said, ‘It was a great match. He inspired me to take some good shots. I am happy to reach the final but the work is not done yet. At the age of five, his left leg was deformed due to polio. He has won 45 international medals including four gold at the World Championships. He has won two gold and one silver in the last eight years at the BWF World Championships. In the 2018 Para Asian Games, he won a silver and a bronze.
Tokyo Paralympic Badminton: Bhagat, Krishna, Suhas in final, Manoj and Tarun lose in semi-finals