As many as seven Indian shuttlers have qualified for the 2021 Paralympic Games, who will be led by World No. 1 Pramod Bhagat. The Bhubaneswar native, who will be competing in the men's singles SL3 and mixed doubles SL3-SU5 events, has been a top performer, having secured several medals on the world stage.
On that note, here are four things you probably did not know about Pramod Bhagat.
#1 Pramod Bhagat is a four-time world champion
Pramod Bhagat first burst onto the scene at the 2009 BWF Para-Badminton World Championships, where he won the SL3 gold in Korea. He added titles in 2013 and 2015 in Germany and England respectively.
The Indian had to be content with a bronze at the 2017 edition of the Championships, but came back strong to reclaim the title in 2019. Bhagat beat World No. 2 Daniel Bethell in the 2019 final for his fourth title at the prestigious tournament.
#2 Pramod Bhagat was named the Differently Abled Sportsman of the Year in 2019
Following his heroics at the 2019 World Championships, Pramod Bhagat was named the 2019 Differently Abled Sportsman of the Year at the Indian Sports Honours.
It was the third edition of the Differently Abled Sportsman of the Year award, which was first instituted in 2017. He had said at the time:
"I am really honoured to receive the award and it has come at the right time, this award will give me a boost to perform better at the Paralympics."
#3 Pramod Bhagat is an avid sports fan
When he is not slugging it out on the badminton court, Pramod Bhagat spends a lot of his time watching other sports - badminton, athletics and hockey in particular - and cheering for fellow athletes.
The 33-year-old's Twitter handle has several congratulatory posts for Indian athletes who participated at the 2021 Olympics.
#4 Pramod Bhagat was reccomended for the Khel Ratna award by the Odisha government
Earlier this year, the Odisha government recommended Pramod Bhagat and ace Indian hockey player Deep Grace Ekka for the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna, India's highest sporting honor.
Bhagat has already been awarded the Arjuna Award for his contributions to para-badminton. He was amongst the 19 athletes who were felicitated in 2019.