Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Suhas Yathiraj clinched the silver medal at the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics. He put in an inspiring performance against two-time world champion Lucas Mazur in the SL4 Badminton men’s singles final on Sunday. Suhas Yathiraj scripted history by becoming the first-ever IAS officer to win a medal at the Paralympics.
Even at 38, Suhas Yathiraj was filled with energy throughout the 62-minute thriller. He kept the Frenchman on the edge for the majority of the competition. But the lack of big-match experience proved to be a deciding factor.
Mazur did commit mistakes early on but recovered well. The Indian shuttler, on the other hand, did not lose his composure, kept a positive outlook and also rejoiced the crowd after every point he scored.
Suhas Yathiraj pocketed the first game with ease as Mazur just looked out of place. However, the two-time world champion came out fresher after the changeover. His body language changed as he began the fightback as he clinched the second game 21-17.
In the third game - the decider – Mazur carried the momentum and once again came from behind. He won the gold medal with a score of 21-15, 17-21, 15-21.
Suhas Yathiraj takes India’s medal tally to 19
This is India’s third medal in badminton at the Tokyo Paralympics after Pramod Bhagat’s historic gold and Manoj Sarkar’s bronze on Saturday. India’s medal tally has now reached 19 with five gold, eight silver and six bronze medals.
Suhas Yathiraj is the first IAS officer to win a medal at the Paralympics. He graduated as a computer engineer from NIT Karnataka with distinction. He has served as district magistrate for Agra, Prayagraj, Azamgarh, Jaunpur and Sonbhadra districts. He is currently serving as the Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida) DM.
Meanwhile, Tarun Dhillon lost the bronze medal in the SL4 Badminton men’s singles against Indonesia’s Fredy Setiawan.