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Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

From buying second hand racquet, Manoj Sarkar wins a medal at Paralympics

Manoj Sarkar won a bronze medal in men's singles SL3 category at the Tokyo Paralympics. He beat home favourite Daisuke Fujihara in the bronze medal match.

Manoj Sarkar

Manoj Sarkar (Source: Getty Images)


Kaustub Bharadwaj

Updated: 4 Sep 2021 11:30 AM GMT

Manoj Sarkar won a bronze medal in men's singles SL3 category at the Tokyo Paralympics. He beat home favourite Daisuke Fujihara 22-20, 21-13 in the bronze medal match. Manoj bounced back from losing 21-8, 21-10 in the semifinal to Daniel Gethell of Great Britain. SL3 is a category for players with minor lower limb impairment. He is one of a group of history making medal winners as this is the first time badminton has been played at the Paralympics.

Manoj was born to a joint family in Rudrapur, Uttarkhand. He suffered from polio as a one year old. He had some bad medical treatment for it and this led to him developing post-polio residual paralysis [PPRP] lower limb condition.

This is an incredible achievement by Manoj who came from a poor background had to fight to become a Paralympian. He started playing badminton by buying a second hand racquet. He had earn money as a kid to buy badminton equipment. He wrote in an article for the bridge before the Paralympics, where he said, "I used to stay in a joint family then and had three cousins of almost similar to my age. Once, someone bought badminton racquets for them, but not for me. I felt very bad and cried a lot. My mother felt bad and gave me 10 rupees, using which I bought a small secondhand racquet for myself."

He played in able bodied competitions at the state level. He took up para badminton on the advice of the coach DK Sen. "I was playing the quarterfinal against one of his students in the quarterfinal, and I lost in the third set. He approached me then and told me if I play in para-badminton instead of able-bodied, you might represent India" Manoj said in his article on the bridge.

Manoj winning a medal is not a surprise as he is one of the best players in his category. He was the world number three coming into the Tokyo Paralympics. He won a silver medal at the 2017 world championships in Ulsan and bronze medals at the 2015 and 2019 world championships in singles. He has also won world championship gold medals in doubles.

However, while him winning a medal is expected, him reaching where he has from his background is an amazing achievement. It is a great journey that he has achieved because of his fighting spirit.

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