Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Termed as favourite to win medals, World No.1 para-shuttler from Odisha Pramod Bhagat has an unfortunate start at the ongoing Tokyo Paralympics as Bhagat and his partner Palak Kohli from Punjab lost their first mixed doubles encounter.

Pramod and Palak gave a tough fight to the France duo of Lucas Mazur and Faustine Noel before losing 9-21, 21-15, 19-21 in their first match.

With this loss, the pressure is now on Pramod and Palak to win their next match if they are to advance to the semifinal.
The Indian duo started well taking a 2-1 lead in the first game, but that was the only time they seemed comfortable. The French duo came storming back to wrap up the game 21-9 in just 11 minutes.

The second game started with the France duo taking an early lead. It seemed as if Lucas and Faustine would wrap up the match in straight games. But, Pramod and Palak had other ideas. The relentless Indians took the opponents by surprise as they clinched the game 21-15 to force the match into a decider.

The decider started with Lucas and Faustine racing to an 8-5 lead, but the Indians levelled at 9-9 before being 9-11 down at the mid-game break. The French duo extended the lead to 14-9 after the break, before Pramod and Palak came storming back, winning six points on a trot to take a 15-14 lead in the decider.

Just when it looked like the Indians would wrap this up, the French duo rose from the ashes to pocket the decider 21-19 in 19 minutes.

(Edited by Pradeep Singh)