An indian athlete a para-shuttler Suhas Yathiraj clinches the silver medal in the final of the men’s singles badminton SL4 event by losing to Lucas Mazur of France at the Tokyo Paralympics 2020 on Sunday. Yathiraj lost to Mazur 21-15, 17-21, 15-21. India have now extended its medal tally to 18 at the Paralympic Games.
Suhas had a terrific first game where he comprehensively dominated his French oppponent. He carried the same momentum in the next game that witnessed a neck-to-neck fight between both players. However, Mazur got the edge towards the end of the second game and won it 21-17, taking the comeption to the decider.
The Indian shuttler began afresh and led the game 4-0 at one point of time. Mazur looked a bit exhausted for a while but he came from behind and took showcased an impeccable performace to take away the gold.
Suhas had lost to Mazur, who has won three gold medals in European Championships as well, in the qualifying group A match but the India made a tremendous effort in the final to challenge his world No. 1 rival.
The district magistrate of Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida) thus also became the first-ever IAS officer to win a medal at the Paralympics.
“I’m quite happy with the performance but I should have finished it off in the second game,” said Suhas after winning India’s third medal in badminton.
“So I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t finish it off because I had a handsome lead in the second game. But congratulations to Lucas. Whoever played better is the winner.”
Earlier on Saturday, Suhas had outwitted Indonesia’s Fredy Setiawan 21-9, 21-15 in 31 minutes in the first semifinal.
Before the final face-off, Suhas, currently world No. 3 in SL4 category, had played three matches, including the semifinals on Saturday, in the ongoing Games. He has been at his dominating best against his rivals.
A computer engineer, Suhas went on to become an IAS officer and has been posted as a district magistrate of Noida since 2020, a role that saw him at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19 pandemic.
On court, he has won gold medals at 2017 BWF Turkish Para badminton championship in men’s singles and men’s doubles, besides claiming the yellow metal in 2016 Asia championships. He is also a bronze medallist at 2018 Asian Para Games.
Meanwhile, India’s Tarun Dhillon lost the bronze medal match to Fredy Setiawan of Indonesia 17-21, 11-21 in men’s singles badminton SL4 event. Dhillon began with a narrow lead in the first game, however, his Indonesian opponent came back strong towards the end and swept away the second game game as well, to clinch the bronze medal.
Total Gold medals Tolls of India reached to four gold, eight silver and six bronze medals to be placed 26th with one day left in the Games. India had won just four medals in the last edition in Rio while the total count from the 1972 edition when the country competed for the first time till these Tokyo Games was 12.