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Paralympic gold medallist Pramod Bhagat credits calmness aspect to Sachin Tendulkar

Bhagat,
the
reigning
world
champion,
clinched
India’s
first
Paralympics
gold
in
Badminton
with
a
straight-game
win
over
Great
Britain’s
Daniel
Bethell
in
the
SL3
class
finals
in
Tokyo
last
week.

The
33-year-old
Indian,
who
had
contracted
polio
when
he
was
4
years
old,
showed
great
mental
fortitude
as
he
recovered
from
an
eight-point
deficit
in
the
second
game
to
come
up
trumps
against
his
opponent.

“I
used
to
play
cricket
during
childhood.
During
that
time
we
used
to
watch
cricket
on
Doordarsan
and
I
was
always
fascinated
by
Sachin
Tendulkar’s
calm
demeanour,
the
way
he
conducted
himself
and
it
had
a
big
influence
on
me,”
Bhagat
told
PTI
in
an
interview.

“I
started
following
him.
His
sportsmanship
influenced
me
a
lot.
So
when
I
started
playing,
I
followed
the
same
thought
process
and
it
helped
me
to
make
some
memorable
comeback
in
many
matches,
including
World
Championships.

“When
I
was
4-12
down
in
second
game
of
the
final,
I
was
confident
that
I
can
recover
and
so
I
could
held
my
nerves,
stay
calm
and
comeback
and
win.”

Bhagat
had
met
Tendulkar
after
returning
to
the
country
from
Tokyo.
He
gifted
his
racquet,
which
he
used
in
the
final
to
Tendulkar,
who
gave
him
an
autographed
tee-shirt
and
his
autobiography
book.

“I
have
always
been
inspired
by
Sachin,
right
from
childhood,
so
it
was
a
big
moment
for
me
when
I
met
him.
He
told
me
about
the
balance
of
life
and
sports.
It
was
a
dream
come
true
moment.”

Bhagat,
who
hails
from
Attabira
in
Odisha”s
Bargarh
district,
said
he
didn’t
see
any
future
in
the
sport
when
he
started
but
now
he
feels
overwhelmed
with
the
response
that
his
gold
medal
has
generated.

“When
I
started
badminton
in
2005,
I
used
to
feel
there
is
no
future
but
I
won
in
2009
world
championship
title
and
once
BWF
recognised
para-badminton,
things
changed
slowly,”
he
said.

“But
there
was
not
much
recognition
for
para
badminton
and
somehow
I
knew
that
a
gold
at
Paralympics
may
get
me
recognition
and
I
should
say
I
am
overwhelmed
with
all
the
attention.”

Indian
para
shuttlers
claimed
as
many
as
four
medals,
including
two
gold,
a
silver
and
a
bronze,
from
the
Tokyo
Paralympics
where
badminton
made
its
debut
this
year.

Bhagat,
who
has
over
45
international
medals
under
his
belt,
including
four
world
championship
gold
medals
and
a
gold
and
a
bronze
in
2018
Asian
Para
Games,
said
time
has
come
for
para
shuttlers
to
dominate
the
world.

“It
is
just
a
start
for
us.
The
struggle
time
is
over
now
and
it’s
time
to
step
up
and
achieve
more,”
he
said.

“In
Tokyo,
we
have
proved
that
we
are
the
best
and
in
years
to
come,
you
can
expect
much
higher
level
performances
and
I
feel
in
next
year’s
Asian
games
and
2024
Olympics,
we
will
do
better.”

Bhagat
was
supposed
to
play
next
month’s
World
Championships
in
Tokyo
but
it
has
been
postponed
due
to
COVID-19
and
he
said
his
next
aim
remains
to
win
a
medal
at
the
tournament
which
might
happen
in
December
or
March.

Bhagat
also
acknowledged
the
contribution
of
childhood
coach
Shiba
Prasad
Das.

“He
actually
found
me,
trained
me
and
made
me
what
I
am.
He
is
my
first
guru
(coach).
I
used
to
play
outdoors,
he
introduced
me
to
indoor
badminton
and
it
was
under
his
guidance
that
I
won
the
2009
world
championship
title.

“He
helped
me
financially,
mentally
and
physically
supported
me.
I
used
to
train
under
him
before
big
events.
So
I
have
lot
of
gratitude
for
him.”

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