Tokyo: The Indian troika of Pramod Bhagat, Suhas Yathiraj and Krishna Nagar sailed into the men’s singles finals of the badminton event in their respective classifications at the Tokyo Paralympics here on Saturday.
Among other Indians in the fray, Manoj Sarkar and Tarun Dhillon suffered contrasting losses in their respective semifinal match. The duo will now play in the bronze medal playoff.
Bhagat and Palak Kohli also couldn’t cross the semifinal stage in the SL3-SU5 class mixed doubles competition and the duo will play for bronze on Sunday.
The 33-year-old Bhagat, the current world no 1, secured a 21-11 21-16 win over Japan’s Daisuke Fujihara in the first SL3 class semifinals that lasted 36 minutes.
The top-seeded Indian, current world and Asian champion, will lock horns with Great Britain’s Daniel Bethell in the summit clash later in the day.
In SL4 class, Suhas outwitted Indonesia’s Fredy Setiawan 21-9 21-15 in 31 minutes in the first semifinal.
The Noida District Magistrate will face top seed Lucas Mazur of France in the final on Sunday.
Krishna, seeded second, also dished out a superlative performance, outplaying Great Britain’s Krysten Coombs 21-10 21-11 in the SH6 class semifinals.
The 22-year-old Indian will cross swords with Hong Kong’s Chu Man Kai in the final on Sunday.
In the other SL4 class semifinal, Mazur managed to stave off a spirited effort from Tarun, claiming a narrow 21-16 16-21 21-18 win over the second-seeded Indian in a gruelling semifinal that lasted an hour and three minutes at the Yoyogi National Stadium.
The 27-year-old from Hisar will face Setiawan in the bronze medal playoff on Sunday.
Manoj too couldn’t get into any sort of rhythm against second-seeded Bethell, going down 8-21 10-21 in the other men’s singles SL3 class semifinals.
The 31-year-old will now play Fujihara in the bronze medal play-off later in the day.
In the SL3-SU5 class mixed doubles, Bhagat and Kohli went down 3-21 15-21 to the Indonesian combination of Hary Susanto and Leani Ratri Oktila in the semifinals.
The Indian duo will square up against Japanese pair of Daisuke Fujihara and Akiko Sugino in the bronze medal playoff on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, with only half of the court being used in SL3 classification, Bhagat and Fujihara engaged in a lot of long rallies and the Indian came up on topmost of the time.
Bhagat, the top seed, trailed 2-4 early in the opening game but a series of overhead drops helped him claw his way back. The duo was 8-8 before the Indian entered the interval at 11-8.
After the break, he continued his good run and eventually pocketed the opening game with six straight points.
It was a Bhagat show in the second game as well as the Indian led all the way to come up with trumps.
Bhagat will pair up with Palak Kohli for their mixed doubles SL3-SU5 semifinals later in the day.
“It was a great game against Fujihara, he pushed me with some great shots. But I had a plan and I executed it very well. I am happy I have reached my maiden Paralympic finals but the work is not done yet,” said Bhagat after his match.
In SL classification, persons with standing/lower limb impairment/severe are allowed to compete. SH6 classification refers to short stature impairment.
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