Reigning world champion Bhagat claimed first gold at the Paralympic Games in India with a back-to-back victory over Britain’s Daniel Bethell in the SL3 class final in Tokyo last week.
The 33-year-old Indian, who had contracted polio when he was 4, showed great mental strength as he rallied from an eight-point deficit in the second game to triumph over his opponent.
“I used to play cricket as a child. During that time we used to watch cricket in Doordarshan and I was always fascinated by Sachin Tendulkar’s calm demeanor, the way he conducted himself and that had a great influence on me,” Bhagat told PTI it’s a statement. interview.
CHILDHOOD DREAM COMES TRUE! I can’t believe how happy I am today as a child. I was inspired by Sir @ sachin_rtT… https://t.co/vRmMEO66tR
– Pramod Bhagat (@ PramodBhagat83) 1631113440000
“I started to follow him. His sportsmanship influenced me a lot. So when I started playing, I followed the same thought process and he helped me make a memorable comeback in many games, including the World Championships.
“When I was down 4-12 in the second game of the final, I was confident that I could recover and be able to hold my nerves, stay calm, come back and win.”
Bhagat had met Tendulkar after returning to the country from Tokyo. He gave his racket, which he used in the final, to Tendulkar, who presented him with an autographed shirt and his book of autobiographies.
“Sachin has always inspired me, since childhood, so it was a great moment for me when I met him. He spoke to me about the balance between life and sport. It was a moment of dream come true.”
Bhagat, who hails from Attabira in Odisha’s Bargarh district, said he saw no future in the sport when he started, but is now overwhelmed by the response his gold medal has generated.
“When I started badminton In 2005, I used to feel like there was no future, but I won the 2009 world championship title and once the BWF recognized para-badminton things slowly changed, “he said.
“But there was not much recognition for him for badminton and somehow I knew that a gold in the Paralympic Games could give me recognition and I must say that I am overwhelmed with all the attention.”
The Indian paratroopers claimed up to four medals, including two gold, one silver and one bronze, from the Tokyo Paralympic Games where badminton made its debut this year.
Bhagat, who has more than 45 international medals under his belt, including four gold medals at the world championships and one gold and one bronze at the Para 2018 Asian Games, said the time has come for paratroopers to rule the world. .
“It is just a beginning for us. The fighting time is over and it is time to step forward and achieve more,” he said.
“In Tokyo, we have shown that we are the best and in the next few years, you can expect performances of a much higher level and I think that at the Asian games next year and the 2024 Olympics, we will do better.”
Bhagat was supposed to play next month’s World Championship in Tokyo, but was postponed due to COVID-19 and said his next goal remains to win a medal in the tournament that could happen in December or March.
Bhagat also recognized the contribution of the children’s coach Shiba Prasad Das.
“He really 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 championship title. 2009 World Cup.
“He helped me financially, he supported me mentally and physically. I used to train with him before the big events. So I am very grateful to him.”