Sachin Tendulkar's calm demeanor had a big influence on me: Paralympics gold medalist Pramod Bhagat

Bhagat won India's first Paralympic gold in Badminton with a straight-game victory over Great Britain's Daniel Bethell.

Pramod Bhagat strikes a pose with his Gold medal, Image credit: Twitter/Sachin Tendulkar
By Nilavro Ghosh | Sep 14, 2021 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Pramod Bhagat, a Paralympic gold medalist, has credited his cool on-court demeanour under pressure to the sportsmanship and graceful behaviour displayed by legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar during his career. In the SL3 class finals in Tokyo last week, Bhagat, the reigning world champion, won India’s first Paralympic gold in Badminton with a straight-game victory over Great Britain’s Daniel Bethell. The 33-year-old Indian, who was diagnosed with polio when he was four years old, had amazing mental toughness in the second game, coming back from an eight-point deficit to defeat his opponent.

“I used to play cricket during childhood. During that time we used to watch cricket on Doordarshan and I was always fascinated by Sachin Tendulkar’s calm demeanour, the way he conducted himself and it had a big influence on me,” Bhagat told Indian news agency PTI in an interview. “I started following him. His sportsmanship influenced me a lot. So when I started playing, I followed the same thought process and it helped me to make some memorable comeback in many matches, including World Championships. When I was 4-12 down in the second game of the final, I was confident that I could recover and so I could hold my nerves, stay calm and come back and win,” the Paralympics gold medalist added.

After returning to India from Tokyo, Bhagat met Tendulkar. The cricketer handed him an autographed tee shirt and his autobiographical book in exchange for his racquet, which he used in the final. “I have always been inspired by Sachin, right from childhood, so it was a big moment for me when I met him. He told me about the balance of life and sports. It was a dream come true moment,” Bhagat continued.


Bhagat, who is from Attabira in Odisha’s Bargarh district, said he did not think he had a future in the sport when he first began, but he is now overwhelmed by the positive reception to his gold medal. “When I started badminton in 2005, I used to feel there is no future but I won in 2009 world championship title and once BWF recognised para-badminton, things changed slowly,” he said. “But there was not much recognition for para badminton and somehow I knew that a gold at Paralympics may get me recognition and I should say I am overwhelmed with all the attention,” the shuttler added.

At the Tokyo Paralympics, where badminton made its debut this year, Indian para shuttlers won four medals, including two gold, one silver, and one bronze. Bhagat, who has won over 45 international medals, including four world championship golds and a gold and bronze at the 2018 Asian Para Games, believes the moment has come for para shuttlers to take over the globe.

“It is just a start for us. The struggle time is over now and it’s time to step up and achieve more,” he said. “In Tokyo, we have proved that we are the best and in years to come, you can expect much higher level performances and I feel in next year’s Asian Games and 2024 Olympics, we will do better,” Bhagat added.