Krishna Nagar, Pramod Bhagat, Suhas Yathiraj and Manoj Sarkar - Paralympians who excelled in Badminton in Tokyo 2020

Krishna Nagar, Pramod Bhagat, Suhas Yathiraj and Manoj Sarkar have all excelled in badminton as they won two gold and one silver during the recent Paralympics in Tokyo 2020.

India excelled in the Tokyo Paralympics 2020 with four medals in para-Badminton. (Image credit: Sportslumo)
By Siddharth vishwanathan | Sep 9, 2021 | 4 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

The Tokyo Paralympics 2020 was a golden chapter in the evolution of Indian sport. A total of 19 medals were won, which included five gold medals. In addition, they secured eight silver and six bronze medals. The performances from the 54-member contingent were simply marvelous. Shooting and Athletics once again dominated the medals tally, with Avani Lekhara becoming the first female gold medal winner. It was Bhavina Patel who secured the first medal in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics when she clinched the silver.

But, it was in badminton that India achieved history. For the first time in the history of the Paralympics, India managed to win four medals in badminton. The sport, itself, was making its debut in the Paralympics and India shone. The men, in particular, stole the show with a brilliant exhibition. Krishna Nagar, Pramod Bhagat, Manoj Sarkar, and Suhas Yathiraj were the men who gave India glory in the Tokyo Paralympics 2020. Here is a look at all the men who have created glory in badminton.

Pramod Bhagat

Perhaps, when the history of India is spoken about, the name Pramod Bhagat will have a prominent name. He was the first Paralympian to win a gold medal in the sport of badminton. Having been infected with polio at a very young age, Bhagat had to overcome additional hurdles. He was in dire poverty in Bhubaneswar and he lost his parents at a very young age. But, he did not give up. He started to play badminton at the age of 14.

In 2002, he played with able-bodied athletes despite the impairment. He did not even have basic coaching. It was at that time that his skills were honed. He took a break for some time but his main aim was to win the gold medal in the Paralympics. In the event, he put on a tremendous show.

Bhagat entered the final against Daniell Bethell. He won the first game 21-14. Initially, he was trailing by eight points in the second game but recovered in grand style to win the match and secure a medal. Bhagat became the first badminton player to win gold for India.

Krishna Nagar

He was diagnosed with dwarfism at the age of two. Krishna Nagar from Jaipur had to struggle to find acceptance in society. But, he proved to be a giant who outshone all of them. He decided to play badminton as a hobby at the age of 14 but when he was introduced to Para-badminton, his life changed. Nagar clinched bronze in the 2018 Asian tournament and the 2019 World event. The confidence of the last two years resulted in his splendid showing at the Tokyo Paralympics 2020. Having breezed through the field in the entire tournament, Nagar entered the final against Chu Man Kai of Hong Kong.

In the first game, Chu Man Kai had a slender lead but Nagar bounced back to win the tight contest 21-17. In the second game, the Hong Kong player managed to win 16-21 as the gold medal match went into the decider. Chu Man Kai held the momentum in the first half of the game but Nagar did not give up. He turned the momentum and won the match 21-17 as he became the second gold-medal winner for India.

Suhas Yathiraj

He is an IAS officer, which itself is a worthy status in Indian society. During the coronavirus pandemic, he was the District Magistrate in Noida who was in the frontlines. He ensured that the lockdown was enforced and that hospitals in the district were functioning and catering to the needs of coronavirus patients.

Suhas Yathiraj had an ankle impairment. But, his parents backed him and ensured that he was not treated differently. He continued to follow his passion for badminton but at the same time, he was good in his studies. He became an IAS officer in 2007 and served in Prayagraj and Gautam Buddha Nagar.

Yathiraj reached the final and he faced top seed, Lucas Mazur. However, he tried to be aggressive in pressure situations and it backfired. He won the first game 21-15 and was leading 11-10 in the second. But, the experience of the French player turned the game totally. He won the big points and won the second game 17-21. In the third game, Mazur was in top form and he won the match. Yathiraj settled for silver but he showed his brilliance on the big stage.

Manoj Sarkar

He suffered from a wrong medical treatment at the age of one that resulted in a lower limb condition. At the age of 14, he used to earn money by selling badminton equipment. But, Manoj Sarkar honed in on his badminton skills by practicing with a second-hand racquet. All that practice and effort resulted in a good run at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Sarkar reached the semi-final but the Indian shuttler crashed to an 8-21 10-21 defeat in the semifinals against Great Britain’s Daniel Bethell. However, in the next match, he bounced back strongly to coast past Fujihara. Sarkar won the first game in 22 minutes and the second in 19 minutes. Sarkar won the bronze medal after beating Daisuke Fujihara 22-20, 21-13 in the event.

The achievements of the Indian Paralympic athletes were simply magnificent. With able-bodied athletes winning seven and the Paralympians winning 19, Tokyo 2020 is a new chapter in the history of Indian sports. It is a platform from which they can springboard themselves to greater glory.