Dubai, April 4 (IANS) Top Indian shutters, Pramod Bhagat, Sukant Kadam and Nitesh Kumar, had a memorable outing as they sailed into the finals of the singles and doubles events in their respective categories at the 3rd Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Dubai Para Badminton International 2021.
On a day when the Indians assured themselves of a bagful of medals, reigning world champion Manasi Joshi, promising Palak Kohli and top seed Krishna Nagar too entered the final, while Prem Kumar Ale would be eyeing two gold medals, as he entered the men’s doubles and mixed doubles finals.
In the men’s singles SL3 final, Bhagat will take on compatriot Nitesh, who defeated fellow Indian Manoj Sarkar in a nail-biting contest 21-19, 22-20.
“I am very happy to start the season on a strong note. Game wise I am feeling the same as I didn’t take any break from my training in the lockdown. I am going with the flow as I always do,” Bhagat said after beating Malaysia’s Muhammad Huzairi Abdul Malek 21-7, 21-17 in the semi-finals.
A delighted Kadam, who thrashed German Marcel Adam in the semi-finals 21-11, 21-11 and will take on Lucas Mazur in the title clash said, “I have worked a lot on my mental strength for important matches like these. I lost many semi-finals in 2019 and I am happy to start this year by entering the final. Looking forward to playing the final now,” said Kadam who alongwith Nitesh entered the men’s doubles SL3-SL4 defeating the Malaysian duo of Muhammad Huzairi Abdul Malek and Muhamad Zulfatihi Jaafar 21-19, 19-21, 21-13.
In an all-Indian affair, Sukant and Nitesh will take on the Bhagat-Sarkar duo in the men’s doubles Sl3-Sl4 final.
Promising Palak Kohli overcame a tough Portuguese challenge from Beatriz Monteiro before winning 21-18, 21-15 to set up a women’s singles SU 5 final against Megan Hollander of the Netherlands, while Krishna Nagar had an easy outing against France’s Charles Noakes 21-14, 21-8 in the combined men’s singles and women’s singles SH6 category.
A total of 127 shuttlers from 29 countries, including hosts UAE, are competing in the BWF Para Badminton tournament after more than a year because of the Covid-enforced cancellations. The last international tournament took place in Peru in February 2020.