Dubai, May 30 (Ajit Weekly News) Paralympic champion Pramod Bhagat and reigning world champion Manasi Joshi rallied from a game down to win the title in their respective categories as India finished with a rich haul of 17 medals including five gold at the 4th Fazza International Para-badminton 2022 here.
Promising Manisha Ramadass shone with two gold medals — in the women’s singles SU5 and women’s doubles SL3-SU5 with Mandeep Kaur, who settled for the silver in women’s singles SL3, on the final day of the event on Sunday.
Bhagat, the top seed, played yet another long match in the tournament and in the final, he was stretched to the limit by fellow Indian Nitesh Kumar before winning 19-21, 21-17, 21-17 in one hour and 1 minute and bagging the gold medal, the Paralympic Committee of India informed in a release on Monday.
“After playing a long match in the semifinals, I wanted to finish off the match in two games. In Bahrain, the matches were relatively easier. So, I was taking time to get my rhythm and giving away games. The second game went according to the plan, as he was in a hurry to collect points,” Bhagat said on the final.
“Dubai was a good event; I feel I am getting back to my usual form. After the Paralympic Games, my game hasn’t been consistent. I was here to analyse my game and get back to training regularly.
“With Manisha (new mixed doubles partner), I think we can do better. We need to train together now. She is still playing the singles pattern and will need soon sessions to adapt to the doubles,” said Bhagat on his new partnership with Ramadass.
Thrilling women’s finals
In the women’s singles SL3, Joshi produced an impressive show — turning around a slow start — as she pulled off a come-from-behind win over upcoming player Mandeep Kaur 16-21, 24-22, 21-14 in a 43-minute encounter.
“I enjoyed the final. I was getting better with each game and I am happy to turn around the match with those crucial attacking shots. The key was to play offensive; Mandeep’s movements are faster than me so I tried to play more attacking and go faster in the game,” said Joshi, who also took a bronze in mixed doubles SL3-SU5 event partnering Ruthick Raghupathi.
Meanwhile, Manisha Ramadass was elated to finish with two gold medals yet again, after the Bahrain Para-badminton International. Manisha pulled off an inspiring 21-17, 21-11 win over Japan’s Paralympic bronze medallist Akiko Sugino before she paired with Mandeep to defeat the Thai pair of Nipada Saensupa and Chanida Srinavakul, the Asian Para Games bronze medallist, 21-9, 21-13.
Manisha motivated to do well
“I am very happy to be able to win two gold again. These title wins have definitely given me more confidence. I am learning with each game and watching these top players, of course, I am motivated to do well,” the 17-year-old from Chennai was quoted as saying in a release.
However, Asian Para Games champion Tarun Dhillon had to settle for the silver after going down fighting to Indonesian Fredy Setiawan 11-21, 21-9, 21-23 in 43 minutes. He also has a bronze in men’s doubles SL3-SL4 with Nitesh.
“This is going to haunt me for some time. Once I reached 20, I got relaxed and that was the time Fredy saw me as a weak opponent. Fredy didn’t allow me to take that single point and went on winning back-to-back points. This was a big lesson,” said Dhillon later, who had already claimed Setiawan as his biggest opponent in Asia.
Young Nithya Sre Sumathy Sivan’s winning run in women’s singles SH6 was halted by Indonesian Rina Marlina who won the final with a 21-13, 21-10 scoreline. However, she compensated with the gold in women’s doubles SH6 with her partner Rachana Shaileshkumar Patel.
Among other silver medallists were Dhinagaran Pandurangan and Sivarajan Solaimalai in men’s doubles SH6, while the bronze medallist were: Manoj Kumar (MS SL3), Jyothi Verma (WS SL4), Parul Parmar (WS SL3), Latatai Umrekar (WD SH6).
The finals followed a colourful closing ceremony attended by many dignitaries including Danish World No. 1 shuttler Viktor Axelsen.
Top Indian shuttlers will next be seen in action at the Canada para-badminton International, which is a Level I tournament, starting next week.
–Ajit Weekly News