Odisha Channel Bureau
Bhubaneswar: Odisha born para shuttler Pramod Bhagat created history at the Tokyo Paralympics 2020 on September 4 becoming India’s first badminton player to win a gold medal in the history of the Paralympics.
Bhagat claimed a historic badminton gold medal in men’s singles SL3 class after notching up a thrilling straight game win over Great Britain’s Daniel Bethell in final clash in Tokyo.
With badminton making its debut at the paralympics this year, Bhagat, the current world No. 1, thus became the first Indian to win a gold medal in the sport.
The top seeded Indian, also an Asian champion, showed great mental fortitude as he prevailed 21-14 21-17 over second seeded Bethell in a thrilling final that lasted for 45 minutes at the Yoyogi National Stadium.
Thirty-three-year-old Bhagat from Bhubaneswar also remains in contention for a bronze medal in mixed doubles SL3-SU5 class.
Bhagat, who had contracted polio when he was 4 years old, picked up the sports after watching his neighbours play. Initially, he competed against able-bodied players before getting into competitive para badminton in 2006.
He eventually emerged as one of the best para shuttlers in the country with 45 international medals under his belt, including four world championship gold medals and a gold and a bronze in 2018 Asian Para Games.
He also had started his career as a badminton coach but took a break in 2019 to focus on Tokyo Paralympics qualification.
In 2019, he received the Arjuna Award and Biju Patnaik Award for Excellence in Sports in India.
Meanwhile, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik congratulated Bhagat for his success at the Paralympics.
In a Twitter post, Patnaik said that Bhagat had made the whole country proud.
Patnaik spoke to gold medalist Bharat through virtual mode and congratulated him for his marvellous performance at Tokyo Paralympics.
Bhagat thanked the Chief minister for his continuous support for the development of sports in the State, an official said.