Paralympics roundup: Narwal, Bhagat add more gold to India’s campaign

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Tokyo, Sep 4 (IANS) Shooter Manish Narwal and shuttler Pramod Bhagat won gold medals while Singhraj and Manoj Sarkar claimed silver and bronze respectively as India enjoyed another fruitful day at the Tokyo Paralympic Games, taking their overall medal tally to 17 with a day to go.
Narwal and Singhraj ensured double delight for India in P4-50m Mixed Air Pistol SH1, winning gold and silver while Bhagat and Sarkar bagged gold and bronze in Men’s Singles SL3 as India ended the day with four medals. India now have 17 medals — with four gold, seven silver, and six bronze medals — thus occupying the 22nd position in the medals tally.
Narwal, the 19-year-old shooter from Ballabhgarh near Faridabad in Haryana, triumphed in a topsy-turvy final in which he started at 7th position and finally got in medal contention with just a few shots to spare.
Narwal shot a Paralympic record 218 in the final while Singhraj, who had won a bronze medal in the 10m Air Pistol SH1 earlier this week, finished second with a score of 216.7. Sergey Malyshev of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) took bronze with a score of 196.8.
Both the Indians shot brilliantly, holding their nerves to surge to the top of the list. Narwal is the world record holder in the final, set at Al Ain, UAE, in March this year.
Though Narwal made a slow start with two poor shots of 7.7, Singhraj was in the zone straight away with a score of 19.4 after two shots.
However, by the time the fifth-sixth shots were fired, the duo was in the reckoning for the podium. Singhraj and Narwal were both in the top three with scores of 46.1 and 45.4 respectively.
Narwal was a bit wayward in the next two shots and slipped to the sixth spot while Singhraj held on to the third position after seven shots were fired.
Narwal remained calm and composed and shot a couple of 10s to claw back into contention, moving to fifth position with 104.3 points. Singhraj was consistent enough to hold on to the third position.
In the second elimination round, Singhraj and Manish were lurking behind each other in fourth and fifth positions with Malyshev leading followed by two Chinese Lou Xiaolong and Chao Yang in second and third places.
However, tables were turned in the next few shots and the Indians clinched gold and silver. Narwal bagged India’s second gold from the Asala Shooting Range. India now have won two gold, 1 silver, and two bronze medals from the shooting range.
India had started with high hopes in para-badminton which is making its debut in Tokyo and Bhagat lived up to the expectations as he became the first Indian badminton player to win a gold in either Olympics or Paralympics.
Bhagat, the top seed, displayed nerves of steel, rallying back from eight points down to defeat Great Britain’s Daniel Bethell 21-14, 21-17 in 45 minutes. Compatriot Manoj Sarkar claimed the bronze with a 22-20, 21-13 win over Japan’s Daisuke Fujihara.
“It was a dream come true moment.”
“I had always dreamt of hearing the national anthem at the Paralympic Games. And I am proud of myself that I could live the moment. I have been the world champion, Asian Para Games champion, and a Paralympic gold was missing. Now I have it, this is surely a special one,” said an elated Bhagat.
Bhagat, who was trailing 4-12 during the break of the second game, came out with a varied repertoire of strokes to make an incredible comeback to level at 15-all before eventually winning the game and match for a gold medal.
India will be expecting at least three more medals from the badminton courts on Sunday, the final day of the competition. Suhas Yathiraj and Krishan Nagar are in the finals of the SL4 and SH6 class while Avani Lekhara will be competing in the Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH1 event, hoping to win her third medal to add to the gold and bronze she has already won.

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