Indian shuttlers to play in 8 finals of Dubai Para Badminton International
Other Indians who entered the final are reigning world champion Manasi Joshi, promising Palak Kohli, top seed Krishna Nagar
It was a double delight for top Indian shutters Pramod Bhagat, Sukant Kadam and Nitesh Kumar as they advanced into the finals of the singles and doubles events in their respective categories on the penultimate day of the 3rd Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Dubai Para Badminton International 2021 at the Shabab Al Ahli Club here.
Among other Indians who entered the final are reigning world champion Manasi Joshi, promising Palak Kohli, top seed Krishna Nagar, while Prem Kumar Ale will play the finals in men's doubles and mixed doubles events.
In the men's singles SL3 final, Bhagat will face compatriot Nitesh, who pulled off a thrilling 21-19, 22-20 win over fellow Indian Manoj Sarkar in the other match.
"I am very happy to start the season on a strong note. Game wise I am feeling the same as I didn't take any break from my training in the lockdown. I am going with the flow as I always do," Bhagat told the Paralympic Committee of India.
Meanwhile, Kadam was delighted to enter the finals in the season-opening tournament. He ran into a 21-11, 21-11 victor against German Marcel Adam and will face top seed Lucas Mazur in the final.
Worked on mental aspect: Kadam
"I have worked a lot mentally on myself for important matches like this. I lost many semifinals in 2019 and I am happy to start this year by entering into finals. Looking forward to play the finals tomorrow," said Kadam who alongwith Nitesh entered the men's doubles SL3-SL4 overcoming the fighting Malaysian pair of Muhammad Huzairi Abdul Malek and Muhamad Zulfatihi Jaafar 21-19, 19-21, 21-13.
Sukant and Nitesh will now meet the pair of Bhagat and Sarkar in all-Indian men's doubles Sl3-Sl4 final.
Meanwhile, Kohli beat Portugal's Beatriz Monteiro 21-18, 21-15 to set up a women's singles SU 5 final against face Megan Hollander of the Netherlands, while Nagar had a comfortable 21-14, 21-8 win over France's Charles Noakes in the combined men's singles and women's singles SH6 category.
Joshi took just 19 minutes to beat Charanjeet Kaur 21-12, 21-6, and will face Ukrainian Oksana Kozyna who shocked the top seed Parul Parmar 21-11, 22-20.
"It feels awesome to reach the first finals. Charanjeet didi played very well but maybe it was my day. I felt confident as I went into the court today and was ready for the semi-finals. I feel the change I made with my prosthetic this lockdown was a good decision," said the 31-year-old Joshi.
Among other highlights of the day was world champions and top seeds Frenchman Mazur (MS SL4) and Indonesian Leani Ratri Oktila (WS SL4) reaching the finals of all three events they have entered.
In men's SU5, the final line up is as expected with Malaysian seasoned player Cheah Liek Hou set to face young Dheva Anrimusthi in the final on Sunday.
As many as 127 players from 29 countries including hosts United Arab Emirates are participating in the first BWF Para Badminton tournament after more than a year because of the Covid-19 Pandemic. The last international meet was held in Peru in February 2020.