India’s Pramod Bhagat made a sensational comeback to beat England’s Daniel Bethell and win his third title in the men’s singles SL3 category at the BWF Para-Badminton World Championships in Basel on Sunday.
Interestingly, it was world no.1 Bhagat’s second gold medal in this World Championships having won his men’s doubles SL3-4 title on the penultimate day of the events.
In that match, he and his partner Manoj Sarkar came from a match down to outsmart compatriots Nitesh Kumar and Tarun Dhillon 14-21, 21-15, 21-16 in the final.
SL3 category is meant for athletes who have minor standing/lower limb impairment while SL4 is for those players who have severe conditions of SL3.
Overall, India finished with 12 medals, including three gold medals. Though the overall number of medals is the same as in 2015, India won 4 gold back then, making it the best ever show.
On Sunday, Bhagat got the better of himself by bettering his winning record against the Englishman Bethell to 3-1 this season with a 6-21, 21-14, 21-5 scoreline in the final which lasted almost an hour.
Unlike the first match, Bhagat relied more on his rallies and half smashes to became the winner in the next two.
“I took time to find my rhythm and thus started slowly in the first game. But in the second game, I increased the pace and tried controlling the match. I have played Bethell many times, so knew it will be a tough match. I am happy to finish on the winning side and take my third singles gold,” Bhagat said.
“The only thing that crossed my mind after I lost the first game was that I need to make a comeback. The win here was important in terms of Tokyo2020 qualification points and also for my confidence.”
With this sensational victory, this is his sixth singles gold this year and Bhagat extended his domination in the SL3 category.