India Honours Para Star Bhagat

India Honours Para Star Bhagat

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games gold medallist Pramod Bhagat will be conferred India’s fourth highest civilian award, the Padma Shri, for his services to the sport.

It makes him the first badminton player to receive the prestigious award.

The 33-year-old, currently training in Cartagena, Spain, welcomed the news with delight and gratitude.

“I’m extremely delighted. It’s a great honour for me. This will motivate and inspire players like me,” he told Times of India.

He added: “This will (also) inspire me to strive harder and put in extra efforts in training and Asian Games and World Championships scheduled for this year.”

In Tokyo last year, Bhagat made history for his nation when he became the first badminton player from India to win gold at the Paralympic Games. The five-time world champion defeated Daniel Bethell of Great Britain in the SL3 men’s singles final to emerge triumphant.

Prior to this, Bhagat had won the Arjuna Award (India’s second highest sporting honour) in 2019 and the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award (India’s highest sporting honour) in 2021.

Earlier this month, Bhagat and teammate Sukant Kadam started their two-month European training stint as part of preparation for the 2022 season.

Apart from the camp in Spain, it will also include time with the French and German national teams.