Paralympics, India’s Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj ended his campaign with a historic silver after going down fighting against top seed Lucas Mazur of France in the men’s singles SL4 class final at the Tokyo Paralympics on Sunday.
The 38-year-old Noida district magistrate, who has an impairment in one of his ankles, produced an entertaining performance before narrowly going down 21-15, 17-21, 15-21 to two-time world champion Mazur in a 62-minute summit clash.
Suhas had lost to Mazur, who has won three gold medals in European Championships as well, in the qualifying group A match but India made a tremendous effort in the final to challenge his world No. 1 rival. The district magistrate of Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida) thus also became the first-ever IAS officer to win a medal at the Paralympics. Suhas had earlier outwitted Indonesia’s Fredy Setiawan 21-9, 21-15 in the semi-final.
A computer engineer, Suhas went on to become an IAS officer and has been posted as a district magistrate of Noida since 2020, a role that saw him at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. On the court, he has won gold medals at the 2017 BWF Turkish Para badminton championship in men’s singles and men’s doubles. He also won gold in the 2016 Asia championships, besides a bronze at the 2018 Asian Para Games.
More medals are in store for India as Krishna Nagar also sailed into the men’s singles SH6 class final. Later, Pramod Bhagat, 33, and his partner Palak Kohli, 19, will meet Japanese pair of Daisuke Fujihara and Akiko Sugino in the bronze medal play-off in mixed doubles SL3-SU5 class later on Sunday. They had lost the semi-finals 3-21, 15-21 to the Indonesian combination of Hary Susanto and Leani Ratri Oktila.
Tarun Dhillon loses
Earlier, Indian shuttler Tarun Dhillon missed out on a bronze medal after he faced a defeat at the hands of Indonesia’s Fredy Setiawan in the men’s singles SL4 event.
Setiawan defeated Tarun in straight sets 21-17, 21-11 to clinch the bronze medal match in just 32 minutes.
Tarun got off to a decent start and gave a neck-to-neck fight before losing the first game to Setiawan 21-17.
The Indonesian took the closely-fought first game to move closer to the bronze medal. In the second game, Setiawan continued his fine form and took an early lead in the essay. The Indonesian shuttler led the second essay 10-4 at the halfway mark. Riding high on confidence, Setiawan piled further pressure on Tarun to take the second game 21-11.
On Saturday, shuttler Pramod Bhagat clinched the gold medal after defeating Great Britain’s Daniel Bethell by 2-0 in the men’s singles SL3 — final.
Battling it out on Court 1, the top-seed Indian overwhelmed the second-seed Daniel Bethell in straight sets by 21-14 and 21-17 in 45 minutes. This was India’s first medal in badminton at the Tokyo Paralympics.