Ramakanta Biswas

Ace para shuttler from Odisha Pramod Bhagat, who scripted history by becoming the first gold medal winner from India in para-badminton at Tokyo Paralympics, on Friday expressed his desire of becoming a deputy collector.

Interacting with media after a felicitation ceremony in Bhubaneswar today, the gold medallist said, “I had a dream of becoming a deputy collector and still nurture it. However, I will respect the decision of the State government on giving me job.”

The Odisha government has announced a Group A job along with a reward of Rs 6 crore to Bhagat for his Olympic feat. 
Bhagat dedicated his success to his coach, villagers and the State government. “Despite many odds, I won Gold medal at Paralympics. I owe my success to my coach, villagers and the Odisha government,” he said.

Asked about the demand of para-athletes of Odisha who recently held protest seeking government job at par with other sportspersons, Bhagat said the State Sports Minister has assured to look into the demand soon. 

“It is difficult to achieve any goal without support. During today’s felicitation event, Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera assured that soon para-athletes will be given job alike general sports persons. I am hopeful the government will address the issue soon,” he said.

Bhagat, who landed in Odisha today, was given a hero’s welcome upon his arrival at the Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) in Bhubaneswar. 

Later, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik felicitated Bhagat with a cash award of Rs 6 crore at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar.  

Congratulating Bhagat, the CM said, “Your victory was a proud moment for the entire nation and will remain forever so. You have truly redefined how Sports can uplift and empower lives. You have inspired a generation of sportspersons and para sportspersons to create their own destiny. I wish you all the very best for greater glories. We will continue to support you in your journey ahead.”