India will send a seven-member contingent to Tokyo as Para Badminton is set to mark its debut in Paralympic Games, starting next month from August 24. In a major boost to India’s medal odds at the showpiece, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Friday granted two bipartite quotas to the nation.
IAS officer cum shuttler and Noida district magistrate (DM) Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj has been granted the quota in men’s singles SL4 while Manoj Sarkar has made the cut in men’s singles SL3. The Indian contingent will be led by World no.1 Pramod Bhagat.
Yathiraj, a bronze medallist at the 2018 Asian Para Games, said that he’s confident of bagging a medal in Tokyo. Yathiraj, an IAS officer of the 2007 batch, will now be putting in extra hours to bring glory to the country.
“Being the DM of Noida, it was a very challenging time during the Pandemic. But I never gave up on my training and devoted all my focus and time into it. I am very much confident to clinch a medal at Tokyo 2020,” he said.
“There is a lot of expectations on me and I hope to live up to it in Tokyo. My target will be a podium finish at the Games and I will be out to win the gold,” added the former world No.1.
Chief national coach Gaurav Khanna said: “It’s wonderful to have a strong presence at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. Indian para shuttlers are doing very well in international events including Asian Para Games and World Championships, and now this is the time to lead the show in the Paralympics.
“It’s great to have two shuttlers each in men’s SL3 category and men’s SL4 category which enhances our medal prospect. We wish to have the gold and silver in both the category.”
“A little bit disappointing though as I was expecting more shuttlers to qualify since they did well in the recent BWF events,” he added.
Men’s singles: Pramod Bhagat (SL3), Manoj Sarkar (SL3), Tarun Dhillon (SL4), Suhas L. Yathiraj (SL4), Krishna Nagar (SH6)
Women’s doubles: Parul Parmar and Palak Kohli (SL3-SU5)