Krishna Nagar won India’s second gold medal from the badminton courts and fifth overall, beating Hong Kong China’s Chu Man Kai in three hard-fought games in the final of the Men’s Singles SH6 class at the Tokyo Paralympic Games on Sunday.
After Suhas Yathiraj claimed silver in SL 4 in the morning, India’s hopes for another gold medal from the badminton courts at the Yoyogi National Stadium depended on Nagar, the world No. 2 in his class, and the 22-year-old from Jaipur did not disappoint as he played a superb aggressive game to prevail over Chu 2-1 in 43 minutes.
Having blown away Great Britain’s Krysten Coombs in the semifinals, the second-seeded Indian went into the final as the hot favourite. However, Krishna Nagar didn’t have it all his way in the final against his opponent from Hong Kong.
He started the first game on the front foot but Chu Man Kai was always close behind and the Hong Kong shuttler went into the mid-game interval holding a slender lead.
With Nagar making too many unenforced errors, Chu Man Kai soon opened a 16-11 lead. But the Indian came storming back and made it 15-16, only trailing by a point.
Nagar lost just one more point in the first game as he trailed 15-17. From then on in, he won six points in a row to leave his opponent shell-shocked and take the first game 21-17.
The second game was quite similar to the first with Chu Man Kai holding the advantage, leading 11-7 in the mid-break interval.
He made it 17-13 and this time there was no comeback from the Indian as the Hong Kong shuttler won the second game quite convincingly to send the final into a decider.
Krishna Nagar came out all guns blazing in the third and final game and sped to a 5-1 lead. Chu Man Kai managed to cut the Indian’s lead down to two points but at the mid-game interval, Krishna Nagar held a 11-7 advantage.
Leading 13-8, Krishna Nagar had a comfortable lead and it seemed he would win the decider at a canter but Chu Man Kai had other ideas.
After winning the first game, Nagar, who took up badminton in 2014 and began playing seriously three years later, defeated Chu Man Kai 21-17, 16-21, 21-17 to win the match and gold medal on Sunday.
This was India’s fourth medal in badminton at Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games after Pramod Bhagat won gold in SL3 on Saturday and Manoj Sarkar won bronze in the same class.
On Sunday, Suhas Yathiraj won a silver medal, India’s third in badminton before Nagar added a gold to the tally.
This took India’s overall tally to 20 medals~ 5 gold, eight silver, and 6 bronze medals.