A young boy from Odisha finds himself polio stricken. His father, who is a works in rice mills, rushes him to doctor. The doctor asks him whether to drive the effect of polio towards the boy’s hands or legs. It’s an awkward question, but then, the father hardly has any other options. He unwillingly choses the poor child’s hand. The polio quitely obliges with the decision and spares his hands. However, the boy’s left leg is deemed ineffective.
But just when you thought that the young boy’s destiny is doomed forever, think again. The boy picks himself up, turns his misfortune into strengths, and trains himself to become one of the finest players the country has ever seen. This is the inspirational story of Pramod Bhagat, the world’s No. 1 para-shuttler at the moment.
A three time world champion, Bhagat is also one of the rare shuttlers who can play equally well in both the singles as well as the doubles format of the sport. Moreover, he has been tagged as a medal prospect for the 2020 Paralympics and is one of the most talented para badminton players in the world now. He has has top-scored the world ranking in SL3 category. Let’s dig deeper into Pramod Bhagat’s inspirational story:
Pramod was fond of badminton from an early age. He would watch his neighbours playing badminton during the day, deeply inspiring him to take up the sport.
He found the sport quite captivating and decided to give it a try. And slowly, as he took up playing badminton, the interest turned into a full-fledged passion.
Even after Pramod was diagnosed with Polio, his love for badminton never waned down. It only got intense. Keeping his hope of playing the sport alive he took his adversity as a challenge. He would practice dedicatedly for hours, most often against senior players. The aspiring shuttler would determinedly wait outside the court for his turn to arrive outside.
Initially, he played with able-bodied players at the district level and even won a district-level competition. Then the shuttler moved towards para-badminton.
From there, Pramod has never looked back, ‘smashing’ many records and winning multiple laurels. In fact, his list of achievements knows no bounds virtually.
Making the Country Proud
He made entire nation proud by winning gold in Men’s Singles category at the second Fazza Para-Badminton International 2019 recently. The second Fazza Para-Badminton International 2019 was held in Dubai in April.
In the month of March this year, the para shuttler won in fifth Turkish Para-Badminton International- ENES CUP 2019 at Antalya in Turkey. The ace had also won two bronze medals in the last edition of the same tournament in 2018. In April, he bagged two gold and one silver medals at the IWAS World Games in Sharjah.
In an interview with one of the sports website when he was asked about his training he said, “Focus on the game with all your strength and practice. This is the prime thing every player should concern about. They all toil hard for their dreams but what matters the most is to focus on whatever you are doing and give all your true efforts for that particular thing. The second thing is the presence of mind to act according to the situation. Only hard work is not the key but smart work as well.”
In the same interview when asked about balancing personal life and badminton, the shuttler expressed,”It is difficult as a player as I am often on tours to perform at various sports stages around the world. I hardly get time to spend with my family but I am lucky enough to have such a family that understands my vision and supports my goals of life in spite of not being so aware of the world of sports and environment where my family lives, being a rural area. People play just for hobby and entertainment.”
Pramod is among the 5 para badminton players to have been shortlisted by Mission Olympic Cell of Sports Authority of India for Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) in preparation of Tokyo 2020- Paralympic Games.
People Behind the Scenes
Starting as one of the finest para-shuttlers of our country, Pramod has bagged numerous accolades in badminton including the World Championships and Asian Para Games. But behind his long list of medals and awards, there has been an important contribution from Pramod’s parents – the late Kailash Bhagat and Kusum Devi. It was their undying faith and encouragement in Pramod’s life that made him the player he is today.
SP Das and Gaurav Khanna, his coaches, should also be credited for their massive role in developing Bhagat’s career. They were instrumental in polishing his potential in the sport and in encouraging him for towards his dreams.
The words, the tales and the tussles of the athletes like Pramod Bhagat will resonate through the soul of inspirations. It gives power to the humanity to confront the many struggles that life bestows upon them.
We, therefore, wish Pramod Bhagat all the very best for for his upcoming endeavours.
- Ranked as the World No.1 Para-Badminton player in SL3 category.
- 2 gold medals in the singles and mixed doubles events and 1 silver medal at the men’s doubles event of the IWAS World Games 2019.
- Gold and silver medals in singles and doubles events of Australia Para-Badminton International Tournament 2018.
- Gold and bronze medals in singles and doubles events of the Asian Para Games 2018.Gold in the men’s singles event of the Thailand Para-Badminton International Tournament 2018.
Clinched both Singles and Doubles title in Uganda Para Badminton International 2019, Kampala.#roadtotokyo #tokyo2020 #GoForGold@GauravParaCoach@asianparalympic @Naveen_Odisha @IndiaSports @narendramodi @GoSportsVoices @dpradhanbjp @FZ_FORZA pic.twitter.com/ip2dq9Ff4Q
— The Pramod Bhagat Fan (@pramodbhagatfan) April 28, 2019
- Bronze medals in singles and doubles events of Asian Para-Badminton Championship 2016.
- Gold and silver medals in singles and doubles events of BWF Para-Badminton World Championship 2015.
- Bronze in the singles event of the Asian Para Games in 2014.
- Gold medal in the singles event of the IBAD Seven Luck World Championship 2009.
- Silver and gold medals in singles and doubles events of the Asian Para Games 2009.
- Gold medals in singles and doubles events of RYLA International Challenger Tournament 2007.