2021 Paralympic gold medallist Pramod Bhagat is elated by the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) decision to introduce new categories ahead of the 2024 Paris Paralympics.
The International Paralympic Committee announced the inclusion of three new divisions in badminton for the 2024 Paris Paralympics. The IPC called for the addition of women's singles SL3, women's singles SH6, and mixed doubles SH6 categories for the next Paralympic Games.
Para badminton will have a total of 16 medal events in Paris, with 60 athletes (equal numbers) from each gender participating at the showpiece event.
For the first time in the history of Paralympics, badminton marked its debut at the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics. The shuttlers grabbed the opportunity and bagged at least four Paralympic medals, including two golds.
Pramod Bhagat delighted with equal opportunities served to men and women in para-badminton:
The road to the Paralympics was not a cake walk for the current Indian shuttlers. It's been a decade-long wait for the shuttlers to make it to the colossal event.
"I am very happy that we are doing everything to promote the game, My only wish is that the newer generations who take up the sport should not have to suffer the way I had to," stated Pramod Bhagat.
World No 1 Pramod is ecstatic with the announcement made by the IPC, which will now serve the same number of categories for male and female shuttlers at the next Paralympic Games.
An increase in the number of categories will pave the way for more medals at the mega event. The Indian Paralympics squad bagged a total of 19 medals which included five gold medals, finishing 24th on the list at the Tokyo Paralympics.
The 33-year-old shuttler hailed the equal opportunity given to the Indian shuttlers.
"It goes without saying that this is a very good decision, we need to give an equal platform to women also. We are athletes and are followed by many people. If we don't set a precedent, others will not follow. I have always believed women should be given equal opportunity and most importantly should be respected," said Pramod Bhagat to ANI.