At 32, para badminton player Pramod Bhagat is chasing a dream – to win gold in the next edition of Paralympics.
The 2019 Para World championship double gold medallist (SL3 category – men’s singles and doubles), says the pandemic has not dampened his preparations to realise what he says is his ultimate dream.
“When the pandemic broke out, the whole scenario was uncertain and all the training facilities were closed. So we had to do the basics at home but then slowly the Government made the necessary arrangements for us to at-least train at home,” Pramod told Sportstar.
“I am grateful to the Go Sports for providing home gym equipment to maintain my fitness levels,” he added.
“I am sure sport will come back stronger than ever. With some of the major events already scheduled, it is a very good sign for us,” Pramod said.
“Yes, definitely, pandemic has come at the wrong time for me but again it was unforeseen yet giving us time to introspect and make the necessary changes to come out stronger,” he said.
“Fortunately, training facilities are good and the Odisha Government has been very supportive for sports,” the Biju Patnaik for Excellence in Sports Awardee said.
On the kind of support he is getting, Pramod says there are no issues on this front with the Government of India helping them through the TOPS scheme.
“I wanted to achieve something for myself where I could prove that it doesn’t matter what obstacles are there, you will always overcome it if you work hard. My ultimate goal would be to get a medal in the world’s third most watched sporting event where badminton is being introduced for the first time ever,” he said.
While the coronavirus pandemic leaves several things in sport facing uncertainty, Pramod believes para athletes shouldn’t think too much or feel bad about what is not in their control. “Para sports are much better off in India since I started in 2009. All I would like to say is that you should never give up. I would like to say that you should never give up and keep trying till you succeed,” he said.
On fellow shuttler Manasi Joshi, Pramod reminds that he also won two gold at the same World championship in Basel last year. “She is a very lively person, focussed on her goals. Her attitude towards things and people is something which I imbibed in myself,” he signed off.