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EXCLUSIVE | Pramod Bhagat, 1st Indian to win GOLD in badminton at Paralympics, charts his journey | Badminton Information

‘Kehte hain agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaho…to poori kainath use tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai’ – this dialogue by Shah Rukh Khan may very well be nicely related to this Paralympics star. 
Pramod Bhagat stood as much as everybody’s expectation and received a gold medal within the first-ever badminton occasion held on the Paralympics in Tokyo. 
Ever since bursting into the scene in 2006, Bhagat has secured podium finishes, which embody golds on the World Championships and Asian Para Video games. It has absolutely been an extended however fruitful journey, however nothing stopped the 33-year-old – even the defect in his leg.
The shuttler, who first featured in a match at a young age of 15, has since achieved many accolades in his profession up to now, but it surely was the Paralympics and the yellow steel that Bhagat had his eyes set on. Speaking to, the Bhubaneswar-based athlete spoke about his journey, his preparation and lamented the bronze medal, which he missed within the mixed-doubles on the recently-concluded Paralympics. 
I am unable to imagine how joyful I’m right now
as a child I took inspiration from Sir @sachin_rt
The phrases you spoke to me right now will stick with me endlessly & will preserve inspiring me for all times.
I thanks from the underside of my coronary heart 
I will likely be sleepless tonight
— Pramod Bhagat (@PramodBhagat83) September 8, 2021
The five-time World Champion and one-time Asian Video games winner was very ecstatic when he learnt that badminton could be a part of the Paralympics. “It was my dream to be a part of Paralympics. Ever since I took up enjoying the game, I’ve dreamt about being part of the Paralympics. Being world No. 1, I knew I’d qualify however the feeling was one thing new and after I heard the information, I had butterflies in my abdomen.” 
“It was one thing which I’ve been working in the direction of. We had been coaching for over 8 hours a day and dealing on my sport. In the course of the lockdown, I improved on my bodily health and likewise labored on my strokes and tried to take away my flaws. The method has been the identical since day 1 of me changing into an expert participant and until date, nothing has modified,” mentioned Bhagat.   
Bhagat was, actually, the favorite to win gold within the Males’s singles SL3 (standing/decrease limb impairment/minor) class. So when requested if he felt any stress about it, he mentioned, “Sure, there was stress for gold from in every single place, however that solely motivated me to coach tougher and ensure I not solely make my dream come true but in addition fulfil the dream of all the nation. Each time I play there’s at all times stress for profitable, I take advantage of that to my benefit to encourage myself,” he additional mentioned.   

The para-athlete took on Daniel Bethell of Nice Britain within the finals and whereas the Indian received the opening sport with ease, the second, which additionally turned out to be the final of the competition, noticed him stage a outstanding comeback, as he ultimately closed the competition with a 21-14, 21-17 scoreline.
When requested about his comeback, Bhagat mentioned: “Bethell is a good participant and we have now had good duals up to now. Within the ultimate additionally he performed an excellent sport. Within the first sport I performed very well, however within the second sport, Bethell performed some nice strokes and used technique to take the lead.”  
“I used to be down however not out; my whole focus was to win one level at a time. The second I realised I used to be on a roll I knew I’d have the ability to shut the sport. It was robust on me mentally and I needed to change my technique additionally, the second I received the final level, relaxation is historical past.” 
Whereas all of us cherished the gold, the top-seeded Indian was additionally a part of a blended doubles occasion with Palak Kohli, who completed fourth of their respective occasion. Nevertheless, the pair did not overpower the native shuttlers and misplaced their bronze medal match in opposition to Japan’s Daisuke Fujihara and Akiko Sugino 21-23 19-21.
Sharing his ideas on lacking out on bagging a number of Paralympic medal on the identical occasion, the 33-year-old mentioned: “With Palak, I’ve not performed quite a bit and are nonetheless attempting to know one another’s sport. Palak is a good asset and is the way forward for the game.”  
“I’m disenchanted that we misplaced the bronze medal within the competitors, we gave our every little thing however sadly we could not end the sport. I’d have beloved to finish up with a bronze within the class.” 
Ye medal har ek Indian ka hai jo sapne dekhta hai. Essential tahe dil se Central authorities, meri Odisha authorities aur Humare Prime minister Modi ji ko dhanyavad kehta hoon. Ye jeet har us insan ki hai jisne mujhe assist kiya hai.
Jai Hind
— Pramod Bhagat (@PramodBhagat83) September 7, 2021
In the meantime, India loved their greatest medal haul on the Paralympics and completed the occasion with a complete of 19 medals – 5 golds, eight silver and 6 bronze. India’s earlier greatest tally at a single version was 4, which they managed in 2016 and 1984, nonetheless the previous noticed extra gold medals. 
Speaking about India’s success on the Video games, Bhagat mentioned: “It’s nice to see so many succeed within the match. I’m very joyful, all of us had put in a number of effort and the outcomes present for themselves.” 
“I’m positive that this win will arrange a terrific platform for the youthful generations. The federal government, SAI and TOPS have completed a terrific job and am positive these outcomes may even enhance them and encourage them to advertise the game extra.” 
Talking of his subsequent goal and his objectives for the subsequent Paralympics, scheduled to happen in Paris in 2024, the shuttler mentioned: “The goal is about to repeat my gold medal feat in singles and guarantee I win a medal in different classes additionally.”
“It is a dream come true for me and proper now my focus has already shifted to placing my greatest on the planet championship and likewise Paris. Lastly, I’d need to give a platform to kids who can take up the game and ensure they get all of the amenities which I couldn’t get throughout my youthful days.”
Earlier than signing off, Bhagat thanked everybody who motivated him all through his journey. 
– written by Karen Noronha

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