Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

World No.1 para shuttler from Odisha, Pramod Bhagat, and his partner Palak Kohli from Punjab stormed into the semifinals of the mixed doubles event in Tokyo Paralympics on Friday.

The Indian pair got the better of Thai duo of Teamarrom Siripong and Saensupa Nipada in straight games, 21-15, 21-19 in just a minute shy of the half an hour mark to seal their place in the round of four.

Having lost their first Group B play stage match against France, Palak and Pramod were on a mission today. They made a pretty strong start to the match, creating a wonderful lead of 6-3. Both of them knew they had to give their best shot to win the encounter in order to move to the next round.

Staying strong in the first game, Palak and Pramod were creative enough with their shots, finding jaw-dropping angles at will and indicating the feisty pair they make. They went on to clinch the first game in style in just 12 minutes with a score of 21-15. 

The second game was slightly tougher with the Indians being challenged early by the Thai opponents who looked inspired and took a quick lead. However, Pramod and Palak came back strongly. They made brave moves, pulled off stunning smashes, played cheeky drop-shots and went the length with few of the rallies to pose a strong reply. The Indian duo sealed the cat and mouse chase like game 21-19 in 15 minutes. 

With this fighting victory, the medal hope of the Indian duo in the mixed doubles event has come alive again.