Guwahati, Sept 4: Pramod Bhagat became the first badminton player from India to win a gold medal at the Olympics or Paralympic Games by beating Great Britain's Daniel Bathell 2-0 in the Men's Singles SL3 final at the Tokyo on Saturday.
Bhagat, the 33-year-old from Bhubaneswar who contracted polio at age four, defeated the Briton 21-14, 21-17, coming back from a 4-9 deficit in the second game to claim his first gold medal as badminton made its Paralympic Games debut at Tokyo.
Compatriot Manoj Sarkar, who had lost to Bathell in the semifinal, came back strongly to beat Japan's Fujihara Daisuke 2-0 in the bronze medal match.
Sarkar, ranked fourth in the world, trailed initially but fought back to win the first game 22-20 in 22 minutes. He then rode the momentum to win the second game 21-13 to win the bronze medal at the Yoyogi National Stadium.
But it was Bhagat who set the tone for India's medal hunt at Tokyo with a brilliant win during which he used his deception and control to subdue the aggressive Bathell.
Bhagat, the top-ranked player in the world, is the reigning world champion in SL3 class having won the title by beating Bathell in the final in Basel, Switzerland in 2019.