Bhubaneswar: Reigning world champion Pramod Bhagat on Saturday stormed into the men’s singles finals of the badminton event after beating Japan’s Daisuke Fujihara in straight games at the Tokyo Paralympics here. The 33-year-old, who is also the world no 1 and current Asian champion, secured a 21-11 21-16 win over Fujihara in men’s singles SL3 class semifinals that lasted 36 minutes.
With badminton making its debut at the Paralympics this year, Bhagat thus became the first Indian to qualify for the gold medal clash in the sport.
Bhagat, who had developed a defect on his left leg after contracting polio at the age of 5, has won a total of 45 international medals, including four world championship golds.
He won two golds and a bronze in men’s singles, besides two golds and a silver in men’s doubles at the BWF Para world championships in the last eight years.
In the 2019 edition at Basel, Bhagat had won gold medals in both singles and doubles events. In the 2018 Asian Para Games, he won two medals – a gold and a bronze. He topped it up with two gold medals and one silver medal at the IWAS World games in 2019. He clinched two gold medals at the BWF Para World Badminton Championships in Basel, Switzerland in 2019.