Tokyo Paralympics: Pramod Bhagat seeks missing Paralympic gold medal

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The
33-year-old,
who
is
the
current
Asian
and
world
champion,
has
qualified
for
the
Tokyo
Paralympics
in
two
events

men’s
singles
SL3
and
mixed
doubles
SL3-SU5
with
Palak
Kohli.

SL3
refers
to
minor
standing
or
lower
limb
impairment,
while
SU5
is
for
players
with
an
impairment
of
the
upper
limb.

“I
have
been
waiting
for
this
day
ever
since
I
started
my
professional
journey,
and
it
is
also
the
only
medal
which
is
missing
from
accomplishments…,”
Bhagat,
who
was
affected
by
polio
at
an
early
age,
told
PTI
in
an
interview.

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Tokyo
Paralympics:
Indian
schedule,
dates,
timing
in
IST,
telecast
and
live
streaming
information

“Currently
I’m
in
my
best
shape
with
the
strongest
mindset
on
the
planet.
My
coach
and
trainer
worked
a
lot
on
me.
I
had
a
few
drawbacks
which
I’m
slowly
working
on.”

The
Indian
badminton
contingent
will
leave
on
Friday
for
Tokyo
and
Bhagat
will
be
a
prime
contender
for
the
gold
medal
at
the
Games,
where
para
badminton
is
making
its
debut.

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“I
don’t
want
to
disappoint
the
1.4
billion
people
who
are
behind
me,
my
aim
is
to
get
India’s
first
gold
in
Paralympic
badminton.
I
will
be
aiming
for
2
golds,
1
in
singles
and
1
in
mixed
doubles,”
said
Bhagat,
who
has
so
far
won
five
medals
at
the
world
championships.

“Also
being
no.
1
adds
a
lot
of
pressure
of
delivering
at
the
world
stage,
I’m
using
that
as
motivation
for
myself
to
perform.
We
are
hoping
to
win
at
least
3-4
medals
for
India.

“My
full
focus
is
on
the
tournament
and
how
to
give
my
best.
I’m
also
keeping
my
mind
clear
and
not
stressing
or
thinking
about
anything.
It’s
going
to
be
a
very
big
for
me
as
this
is
one
medal
which
has
eluded
me.”

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My focus is on winning gold at Paralympics: Para-shuttler Pramod Bhagat after receiving invitation from BWFMy
focus
is
on
winning
gold
at
Paralympics:
Para-shuttler
Pramod
Bhagat
after
receiving
invitation
from
BWF

Bhagat
had
claimed
two
gold
medals
at
the
Dubai
Para
Badminton
tournament
in
April
when
the
sport
returned
after
a
year-long
break
due
to
the
pandemic.

“Dubai
was
like
a
litmus
test
for
all
of
us
as
we
were
playing
a
tournament
after
almost
a
year.
It
really
tested
us
as
irrespective
of
how
much
you
practise,
matches
are
a
different
ball
game,”
said
Bhagat,
who
won
the
singles
gold
and
also
paired
up
with
Manoj
Sarkar
to
clinch
the
men’s
doubles
gold
in
SL4-SL3
category.

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“The
last
few
years
have
been
really
good
for
me
as
I
feel
I
am
at
my
prime
and
playing
very
well.
I
am
working
towards
maintaining
that
and
practising
very
hard
and
also
evolving.”

The
Paralympics,
just
like
the
Olympics,
will
be
held
in
the
shadow
of
the
COVID-19
pandemic
and
Bhagat
said
the
health
crisis
will
always
be
in
the
back
of
the
mind.

Tokyo Paralympics 2020: Meet India's past medallists at the showpiece eventTokyo
Paralympics
2020:
Meet
India’s
past
medallists
at
the
showpiece
event

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“The
virus
has
created
havoc
not
just
me
but
for
everyone.
There
will
always
be
a
worry
about
the
virus
jeopardizing
the
entire
campaign
but
I
am
not
thinking
about
it.

“Right
now
my
focus
is
to
play
my
best
games
in
this
tournament.”

How
difficult
was
it
to
train
for
the
Paralympics
with
the
pandemic
putting
the
country
under
lockdown?
Bhagat
said
“Initially
the
whole
scenario
was
very
uncertain.
With
training
facilities
and
courts
shut
it
really
became
difficult
to
train
and
stay
fit,
but
slowly
the
government
made
the
necessary
arrangements
for
us
to
at-least
train
at
home.”

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“Once
the
courts
were
open
we
were
back
in
the
bubble
training
for
the
Paralympics.

“It
was
good
that
at
least
we
got
to
some
game
time
at
the
recently
concluded
Dubai
Para
Badminton
Tournament,
that
really
helped
us
to
gauge
where
we
stand
when
it
comes
to
match
practise
and
on
court
stamina.”

So,
will
it
affect
the
performance?

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“It
can
if
you
let
it,
hence
I
have
blocked
those
thoughts
and
just
thinking
about
my
game.
During
the
lock
down
I
not
only
worked
on
my
physical
strengths
and
stroke
play
but
also
focussed
on
mental
wellbeing,”
he
concluded.

Badminton
action
begins
on
September
1
at
Tokyo.

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