Meanwhile, Sukant Kadam, who along with Bhagat have been training in Europe for the last few weeks, settled for the bronze in men’s singles SL4 event…reports Asian Lite News
Experienced doubles shuttler Raj Kumar shone with two gold medals as the Indian team returned home with a total of 21 medals from the Level 1 Iberdrola Spanish Para-Badminton International 2022 in Cartagena, Spain.
According to information received here, Kumar, the 35-year-old from Punjab, first paired up with Parul Dalsukhbhai Parmar to defeat fellow Indian pair of Ruthick Ragupathi and Manasi Joshi 21-17, 21-18 in the mixed doubles SL3-SU5 final before he along with Chirag Baretha claimed the men’s doubles SL3-SL4+SU5 title.
Baretha and Kumar, in fact, came out with a brilliant show to rally from a game down and win 19-21, 21-15, 21-16 over fellow Indians Ragupathi and Hardik Makkar in a thrilling 44-minute final.
Overall, Team India had claimed five gold medals — with reigning world champion Joshi (WS SL3), Nithya Sre (WS SH6), and the men’s doubles SH6 pair of Raja Magotra and Krishna Nagar emerging the champions in other events.
An elated Joshi tweeted: “Super satisfied with my performance here. My new partnership with Ruthick Raghupathi in mixed doubles is quite successful having played three tournaments and reaching finals in all of them.
“This is my 3rd consecutive gold in Singles and third consecutive finals in mixed after the announcement of the inclusion of both the categories into the Paralympic Games. Thank you to my family, friends, federation, my sponsors, Gopichand Academy, Gopi sir and Rajendra sir, coaches, trainers, nutritionist, physios, and all the support staff for your encouragement. deep gratitude,” she added.
Bhagat settles for two silver, one bronze
Earlier, Tokyo 2020 Paralympic gold medallist Pramod Bhagat, who was incredible winning triple gold at the Spanish Para-Badminton International II 2022 in Vitoria last week, had to settle with two silver (MS SL3, MD SL3-SL4) and a bronze medal (XD SL3-SU5).
“Last week was amazing; three gold medals in three events. I hope to get more triple gold medals in the upcoming events,” said Bhagat adding that he played some great matches against England’s Daniel Bethell and Japan’s Daisuke Fujihara this week, “The work towards my goal continues.”
Meanwhile, Sukant Kadam, who along with Bhagat have been training in Europe for the last few weeks, settled for the bronze in men’s singles SL4 event.
“It was a fantastic two weeks; we are returning with a lot of positives and learning experiences. This is also after a very long time we are playing back-to-back weeks, so the focus is a little more on recovery and how we can utilize our strength. The competition was also very strong as everyone came here after good preparation, with new targets and new dreams,” Kadam told the Paralympic Committee of India from Madrid.
“The focus is on world circuits. This year, we have a beautiful calendar and I am very excited about the next event in Brazil,” said the World No. 2 Kadam, who was one game up against France’s eventual winner and Paralympic champion Lucas Mazur and 18-15 in the second before the momentum changed in the semi-finals.
Among other silver medallists are Tarun Dhillon (MS SL4), Krishna Nagar (MS SH6) and Mandeep Kaur (WS SL3). While the bronze medallists are Manoj Sarkar and Nitesh Kumar (both MS SL3), Nilesh Gaikwad (MS SL4), Parul Parmar (WS SL3), Prem Ale & Abu Hubaida (MD WH1-WH2), Nitesh Kumar & Tarun Dhillon (MD SU5), Deep Ranjan & Arwaz Ansari (SL3-SL4), Palak Kohli & Parul Parmar (SL3-SU5).
Last week, the Indian shuttlers were phenomenal winning 34 medals including 11 gold medals at the Level 2 Spanish Para-Badminton International at Vitoria.