World No.1 Bhagat prepares for IWAS World Games 2019


Bhagat, the top men’s singles SL3 player in the world, is preparing for badminton’s debut at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Badminton world No.1 Pramod Bhagat of India will be one of more than 500 athletes from 50 countries to line-up in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, for the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Games 2019 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, from 12-16 February.

Bhagat, the top men’s singles SL3 player in the world, is preparing for badminton’s debut at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

He believes the IWAS World Games – an event featuring seven sports which attracts both elite and budding athletes with physical impairments – offer him a great opportunity to test himself.

“2019 is the qualifying year for Tokyo 2020 and competing in IWAS Games will help me in gaining experience in playing with world class athletes and also help in interacting with them,” Bhagat said. “Competition at IWAS is going to be high and tough.”

Bhagat enters Sharjah 2019 off the back of several strong performances in the last year, including gold at the 2018 Asian Para Games in October.

His success is the result of intense training, including sessions of 10-12 hours each day, six days per week at the Para Badminton Academy in Lucknow.

He began playing the sport when he was 14 years old after watching people in his village. He said he likes playing badminton because it is “the fastest racket sport and the skills and techniques are totally different.”

“I like playing badminton because it makes me confident and happy,” he said.

Like many others, Bhagat is targeting another podium-topping performance in Sharjah in both the singles and doubles.

However the long term aim is a successful drive towards Tokyo 2020.

“Winning gold at Tokyo 2020 is my biggest dream and to become the benchmark in the field of Para-Badminton globally,” he said. “Para-badminton is not very popular in India and winning gold at Tokyo will help in raising popularity and make the people of India aware about Para sports.

“I will give my best performance to win gold for my country and to raise the Indian flag high on the victory podium.”

More than 500 athletes from 45 countries will compete at the IWAS World Games 2019 in archery, athletics, badminton, shooting, swimming, table tennis and wheelchair fencing.

Most competitions will be sanctioned by the relevant International Federation and in some cases results will go towards the all-important world rankings which feed into Tokyo 2020 qualification.