Tokyo: Pramod Bhagat became the first badminton player from India to win a gold medal at the Olympics or Paralympic Games, beating Great Britain's Daniel Bathell 2-0 in the Men's Singles SL3 final at the Tokyo Paralympic Games 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 4-9 deficit in the second game.
On Saturday, the World No. 1 para-shuttler Bhagat stormed into the men's singles badminton SL3 final after defeating Japan's Fujihara Daisuke in just 36 minutes in the semi-final. He secured a 21-11 21-16 win over Fujihara in men's singles SL3 class semifinals.
Bhagat, top seed lagged 2-4 early in the opening game but a series of overhead drops helped him claw back. After the break, he continued his good run and eventually pocketed the opening game with six straight points.
Bhagat will also pair up with Palak Kohli for their mixed doubles SL3-SU5 semifinals later in the day.
Bhagat 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.
This year, Bhagat had claimed two gold medals at the Dubai Para Badminton tournament in April when the sport returned after a year-long break due to the pandemic. Bhagat, who won the singles gold and also paired up with Manoj Sarkar to clinch the men's doubles gold in SL4-SL3 category.
PV Sindhu's silver medal in the 2016 Olympics at Rio de Janeiro was the previous best for India in the Olympics and Paralympics. Sindhu has also won a bronze medal at Tokyo 2020 Olympics last month.
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.