Krishna Nagar secured his second gold medal in badminton after Suhas Yathiraj won silver as it turned out to be a super Sunday for the Indian badminton contingent at the Tokyo Paralympics.
22-year-old Nagar, second seed, defeated Chu Man Kai of Hong Kong 21-17 16-21 21-17 in the men’s singles final of the SH6 to keep the undefeated streak at the Games and join compatriot Pramod Bhagat in the gold medal winning list .
Bhagat won the first Indian gold in badminton in the SL3 class on Saturday.
“This is a dream come true. I want to thank my father, mother, uncle, aunt, God, my coaches,” Nagar said after winning India’s fifth gold at the Games.
“This is the first time that badminton has been added to the Paralympic Games and I hope India will continue to win and do their best at the upcoming Games.” Suhas finished his campaign with silver after falling in the fight against first seed Lucas Mazur of France in the men’s SL4 class final.
The 38-year-old district judge in Noida, who has an ankle injury, performed an amusing show before narrowing down 21-15 17-21 15-21 to two-time world champion Mazur in the clash at the top.
Bhagat and Palak Kohli, however, lost 21-23 19-21 in the mixed doubles Sl3-SU5 playoffs for the bronze medal.
Nagar, who has low-growth impairment, began playing sports after being encouraged by his cousin.
However, he started to take this sport seriously only four years ago, and eventually won bronze at the Paraazian Games before winning bronze and silver at the 2019 World Championships in singles and doubles.
The second number of the world also won silver in Brazil last year and two gold medals in singles and doubles in Peru. He also won two gold medals at the Dubai Para Badminton International in April this year.
Nagar, who last played Chu Man Kai in Thai doubles badminton two years ago, entered the match with a 2-1 lead.
It turned out to be a pulsating competition as the duo struggled with teeth and nails, but the Indian showed better nerves to eventually come up with a trump card.
The duo initially played short outplays, and Nagar managed to lead 4-2 and 8-6 before Chu Man fought back and took an 11-9 lead at the break after the Indian hit a goal.
Chu Man continued in the same tone and soon opened the 16-11 lead. But Nagar tightened his net and covered the field well to draw a 16-16 par before winning another overtime by returning from the backhand.
Another kick from the back brought him three points in the game and sealed them when his opponent went into the net.
Chu Man recovered and leads 11-7 in the second game after an initial close fight. The Thai stayed ahead and eventually struck to bring the match to a decisive.
Nagar managed to gather himself in the decision-making, leading to a 5-1 lead before moving to 7-2 with Chu Man struggling with the finish.
The Indian led 11-7 with a looping forehand return before moving to 13-8 after the resumption. However, mistakes crept into his game, allowing Chu Manu to equalize at 13-13.
Nagar stepped up his game in the final phase and launched a series of punches.
He grabbed four match balls with another great comeback, wasting one before rushing into the arms of coach Gaurav Khanne in celebration after his opponent went high again.
The previously unplaced Suhas, district judge of Gautama Buddha Nagara (Noida), became the first IAS officer to win a medal at the Paralympic Games.
I’m pretty happy with the performance, but I should have finished it in the second game, he said.
“So I’m a little disappointed I didn’t finish it because I had a nice lead in the second game. But congratulations to Lucas. Whoever played better is the winner.” In the SL4 class, the shuttles have lower limb damage / severe and play standing.
However, in the bronze medal playoffs, second seed Tarun Dhillon lost 17-21 11-21 to Indonesian Fredy Setiavan in 32 minutes.
In his match for the gold medal, Suhas stepped up on the big stage and dominated the process early on.
Suhas led 11-8 on the first break. Playing with a smile, the Indian controlled the process with Mazur looking tired. He grabbed five points in the game and then pushed one to the back line to get a pocket in the first game.
But Mazur dug in and took a 6-5 lead in the second game, with Suhas taking an 11-8 lead again. The Indian kept his lead at 15-12, but Mazur grabbed nine of the last 11 points and returned to the competition.
Suhas was on his rush of shots to get a great start to the deciding, but Mazur leveled again at 9-9 before coming up with a three-point lead at 17-13. He sealed the competition when the Indian went to the net.
A computer engineer, Suhas became an IAS officer and was at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic as Noida DM.
On the field, he won gold medals at the 2017 BWF Turkish Paralympic Badminton Championships in men’s singles and men’s doubles. He also won gold at the 2016 Asian Championships, in addition to bronze at the 2018 Asian Para Games.