The Indian para-badminton star in Men's SL3 Singles, Pramod Bhagat, won the country's first Paralympics medal in badminton earlier today. The 33-year-old defeated Daniel Bethell 21-14, 21-17 in the final to clinch the gold medal.
Holding the Men's SL3 Singles title in Asian Para Games, World Championships and the Paralympics all together, Pramod Bhagat is undoubtedly one of the greatest sportspersons to have emerged out of India.
But, did you know the start of Pramod Bhagat's rise as one of the greatest Indian athletes can be traced as far back as the year 2002?
Yes, aged just 14 Pramod Bhagat was playing a district level tournament then, in the able-bodied division. Mind you, his leg was left impaired when he was just 5-year-old due to polio.
Competing in that tournament, Pramod defeated all the able-bodied players who were in contention to be crowned the champion. Amazing, right?
What is more amazing is that Pramod did not have any official coach during this time. In fact, it was after his win in this district tournament that he met his first coach SP Das.
Das was highly impressed with the skills a young Pramod Bhagat had to offer and took him under his wings and guided him into the world of para-sports - something which the Paralympics Champion had no idea about until then.