Meanwhile Bhagat beat Great Britain’s Daniel Bethell in the summit clash, Sarkar defeated Japan’s Daisuke Fujihara in the third-place play-off, with both the Indians winning in straight games.
This was the first year that badminton was added to the list of events at Paralympics. Bhagat, the current world No. 1, is therefore the first Indian to win a gold medal in the sport.
Bhagat who is also an Asian champion, showed great mental fortitude as he prevailed 21-14, 21-17 over world no. 2 Bethell in a thrilling final that lasted 45 minutes at the Yoyogi National Stadium. Bhagat is easily one of the best para-shuttlers in the country with 45 international medals under his belt, which include four world championship gold medals and a gold and a bronze in 2018 Asian Para Games. He also received the Arjuna Award and Biju Patnaik Award in 2019 for Excellence in Sports in India.
The star shuttler also had started his career as a badminton coach but took a break in 2019 to focus on Tokyo Paralympics qualification.
The 31-year-old Sarkar also displayed great resilience during his 22-20, 21-13 win over Fujihara.
Even though Sarkar couldn’t get into any sort of rhythm against second seeded Great Britain’s Daniel Bethel in the semi-finals, going down 8-21, 10-21 in the men’s singles SL3 class. However, he recovered quickly from the defeat to produce a superb show to claim the bronze.
He had earlier won a gold medal in the SL3 singles at the 2016 Asian Championships in Beijing. In 2018, he received the Arjuna Award and a year later, he was named Para Sportsman of the Year at the Sportstar Aces Awards.