World no. 1 Pramod Bhagat has won gold at the Dubai Para Badminton international in SL4 category defeating compatriot Nitesh Kumar.
Back when PV Sindhu and Manasi Joshi grabbed headlines for becoming world champions in 2019, there was another world champion silently dreaming the big dream. World number one Pramod Bhagat won the men’s singles gold in the SL4 category at the Dubai Para Badminton tournament after defeating compatriot Nitesh Kumar on Sunday.
L4 players are those athletes who could have an impairment in one or both legs and a minimal impairment in walking/running balance. They must play standing.
Meanwhile, Sukant Kudam (world no. 5) won silver in the SL 3 individual final to add to his doubles silver. SL 3 is for athletes who have a more severe impairment than the SL 4 category which is also a standing event.
Bhagat beat Kumar 21-17, 21-18 in a final that was sprinkled with long rallies and tight points.
Pramod Bhagat also teamed up with Manoj Sarkar to win gold in their doubles match (SL4 – SL3) against compatriots Sukant Kadam and Nitesh Kumar. They won 21-18, 21-16 in another close match.
Bhagat won a third medal for the tournament when he teamed up with Pala Kohli to win bronze in mixed doubles.
The Indians, for whom this was a first international competition after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the suspension of events for more than a year, won 21 medals — 5 gold, 6 silver, 10 bronze — in the tournament.
“After such a long gap, this is a very good return, winning two gold medals which will help me a lot in the build up to the Paralympics. I hope to continue this kind of performance in the Paralympics,” Bhagat said, according to PTI.