Three Indian para shuttlers, including world number one Pramod Bhagat, officially qualified for the Paralympics on Tuesday, which are set to take place from August 25 to September 5.
Apart from Bhagat (SL3 — standing/lower limb impairment/minor), Tarun (SL4 — standing/lower limb impairment/severe) and Nagar Krishna (SH6 — standing/short stature) were also invited to compete in the Paralympics. Minor standing or lower limb impairment is denoted by SL3, whereas severe lower limb impairment is denoted by SL4. SH6 alludes to standing/short stature).
Bhagat, who had won two gold medals and a bronze in the Dubai Para Tournament, was overjoyed when he received the invitation from the game’s governing body, the Badminton World Federation.
“I am really pleased to be invited; every athlete dreams of competing in the Olympics, and I am no exception,” Bhagat remarked. “I am really dedicated, and earning a gold medal in the Paralympics is my ambition, and I have worked extremely hard to achieve this,” he added.
Krishna, who won two gold medals at the Dubai Para badminton International Championships in April, was likewise overjoyed to learn of his qualifying. “I am very happy to be selected…it is a childhood dream for me, I can’t describe this moment,” the 21-year-old from Jaipur said.
“My preparation is going very well, we are having three sessions everyday and we will improve further and will make India proud at the Paralympics. I had played at Dubai event, it was a good experience which helped me to understand my weaknesses where I need to work on. It will help me to give my best at Paralympics,” he further added.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the sport and competitors’ preparation in the lead-up to the Games, and Krishna admitted that keeping in the bio-bubble may be difficult, but he is focused on reaching his goal of winning a medal.
Sukant Kadam, Manoj Sarkar, and a few more renowned Indians are also anticipating invites via Bipartite to arrive on July 16. Palak Kohli and Parul Parmar of India were the first from their country to get invites to the Tokyo Paralympics last month. This is the first time badminton has been in the Paralympics.