TOKYO — Pramod Bhagat, the Indian shuttler who won the gold at the ongoing Tokyo Paralympics on Sept. 4, said that this win equals winning one hundred medals at the other championships.

“This was my dream to win gold at Paralympics; 100 medals are equal to this gold,” he said.

“My coach Gaurav (Khanna) sir told me that you are the best and give your best effort.”

Bhagat said he got overwhelmed by the magnitude of the win.

“I just embraced my coach,” he said. “My feelings just came out; I was just too happy. I have not been able to talk to my family, I am going back to the Games Village, and then I will talk to them.”

“I just want to say that the country has really supported the Paralympic Games. Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has supported all the athletes, and the Paralympic Committee of India has taken care of all the facilities. We have been able to live our dream.”

“I am very happy with this win. The entire country is celebrating; we did not expect this reaction. I became a bit emotional after Pramod won gold,” said Gaurav Khanna, coach of Bhagat, talking about his win.

Pramod Bhagat clinched the gold medal after defeating Great Britain’s Daniel Bethell by 2-0 in the men’s singles SL3— final match here at Yoyogi National Stadium on Sept. 4.

Battling it out on Court 1, the first-seed Indian overwhelmed the second-seed Daniel Bethell in straight sets by 21-14 and 21-17 in 45 minutes. This was India’s first medal in badminton at the Tokyo Paralympics.

There was very little to separate both players in the initial minutes of the first set, but soon Pramod, who was first trailing 3-5, gained his way back into the match. The Indian went into the mid-game interval with an 11-8 lead. Pramod continued with his agility as he dictated the pace and moved Bethell back and forth on the court. In 14 minutes, Pramod clinched the first set by 21-14.

Bethell made Pramod work very hard in the second set as he tested the number-one seed’s patience thoroughly. The Briton ran with an 11-4 lead in the mid-game interval, but soon Pramod clawed his way back into the match as he cut the deficit to just one point on 13-12.

With the better kill shots in his arsenal, the Indian soon leveled the match at 15-15. From then, Pramod continued to dominate as he again started controlling the rhythm of the game to find the top step of the podium. He won the second set by 21-11.

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra

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