Shuttler Bhagat Bags 2 Gold, India Finish With 20 Medals
Dubai: Defending world champion Pramod Bhagat came up with a dominant show to clinch two gold medals as India finished their campaign in the 3rd Sheikh Hamdan bin Al Maktoum Dubai Para Badminton International 2021 with 20 medals on Sunday.
Krishna Nagar and Prem Kumar Ale were also brilliant on the day, winning the other two gold medals for India in combined SH6 and the mixed doubles WH1-WH2 categories, respectively
India topped the tally with 20 medals (4 gold, 6 silver and 10 bronze medals), ahead of France who finished with eight medals (4 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze) and Malaysia with seven medals (3 gold, 1 silver and 3 bronze).
Bhagat started India’s gold rush, clinching the yellow metal with a 21-17, 21-18 victory over compatriot Nitesh Kumar in 39 minutes. He then combined with Manoj Sarkar to beat the Nitesh Kumar-Sukant Kadam duo 21-18, 21-16 in the men’s doubles SL3-SL4 final.
“It was a good tournament overall and I am very happy to start the year on such a strong note and hope to end it with a gold at Tokyo Paralympics. It feels great to get the rhythm back. Everyone had come here after a lot of hard work in the lockdown and this shows in their performance,” said Bhagat.
Krishna Nagar took just 27 minutes to overcome 46-year-old Didin Taresoh of Malaysia 21-17, 21-18. The Indian then paired with Raja Magotra to crush Kenya’s Jeremia Ngungi Maringa and Anthony Ojwang Otwal 21-9, 21-8 in the exhibition SH6 doubles final. The SH6 category was a combined category in this championship.
“I am happy to start the year with a gold medal. The final was a good experience for me to play against a senior player like Didin. Though some of the top players weren’t here, this experience will put me ahead of them in terms of preparation for the major events this year,” said Nagar.
Prem Kumar Ale, who won his second international gold after Peru International 2020, combined with Russia’s Tatiana Gureeva to overcome Switzerland’s Luca Olgiati and Karin Suter-Erath 21-11, 21-18.
“I am very happy to win the gold here. It was a good learning experience for me and I am very motivated to do even better in future,” said Ale, who paired with compatriot Abu Hubaida to take the silver medal, losing to France’s Thomas Jakobs and David Toupe 19-21, 21-23 in the men’s doubles WH1-Wh2 final.
Young Palak Kohli (WS SU5), Manasi Joshi (WS SL3), Kadam (MS SL4), Ale and his partner Abu Hubaida (MD WH1-WH2) settled for silver medals, going down in their respective finals.