3 Indian para badmiton players have qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics
Three Indian para shuttlers Pramod Bhagat (SL3), Tarun Dhillon (SL4) and Krishna Nagar (SH6) received invitations to participate in the Paralympics.
Three Indian para shuttlers, including world number one Pramod Bhagat, on Tuesday officially qualified for the Paralympics, scheduled to be held from August 25 to September 5. Besides Bhagat (SL3 -- standing/lower limb impairment/minor), Tarun Dhillon (SL4 -- standing/ lower limb impairment/severe) and Krishna Nagar (SH6 -- standing/short stature) too received invitations to participate in the Paralympics.
SL3 refers to minor standing or lower limb impairment and SL4 means severe lower limb impairment. While SH6 refers tanding/short stature). Bhagat, who had claimed two gold medals and a bronze at the recently-concluded Dubai Para Tournament, was on cloud nine after receiving the invitation from the game's governing body, Badminton World Federation.
"I am very excited to be invited, every athlete dreams of participating in the Olympics and it is the same for me," Bhagat said. "I am very focused and winning a gold at the Paralympics is my dream and I have been training very hard to achieve this."
Asian Para Games bronze medallist Krishna, who had claimed two gold medals at the Dubai Para badminton International Championships in April, was also over the moon to know about his qualification. "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."
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the sport and the training of the athletes in the run-up to the Games and Krishna said it could be tough staying in the bio-bubble but he is focussed on achieving his dream of claiming a medal. "The current situation due to coronavirus, it is not good but I have full faith from what I have experienced since the COVID-19 breakdown, I don't think safety would be an issue. "Yes, sometimes it will be tough as there will be a bio-bubble but that is not a big problem, our main target is to achieve a gold in Paralympics."
Among other Indians, Sukant Kadam, Manoj Sarkar and few other prominent players are also expecting their invitations through Bipartite to come on July 16. The Indian women's pair of Palak Kohli and Parul Parmar last month became the first from the country to receive the invitations for the Tokyo Paralympics. This is the first time badminton is being introduced in the Paralympics.