India’s Manoj Sarkar won the bronze medal in the men’s tally at the Badminton Singles (SL3) event to better India’s medal tally at Tokyo Paralympics in Japan. He defeated Japan,s Daisuke Fajihara 22-20, 21-13 in the final to continue’s India’s medal rush. He was only the second Indian to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games via biparitite quota in the men’s SL3 category. Sarkar lost strength in one of his limb when he was just one year old due t wrongful medication. He enhanced his skills in bahminton by practicing against a wall, a unique technique he learned after watching it in a tv show. Manoj comes from a humble background and was forced to crowdfund for his initial international tours due to lack of sponsors.
Manoj has won numerous accolades in the International circuit including a Men’s Singles Silver at the Thailand Para Badminton International 2017, A Gold at the Uganda Para Badminton International 2017 a Silver at the Irish Oara Badminton International 2016 and a Gold in the men’s doubles event at the BWF Para Badminton World Championships 2015. He also won a gold medal at the Turkish Para Badminton International Championship in May 2018.
Manoj had to battle hard against his Japanese counterpart in the first game. Despite leading 18-14, the Indian was taken aback by Fujihara’s comeback, who stormed to the game point opportunity first. However, Manoj kept his nerves and eventually claimed the games 22-20.
In 19 minutes, he won the second game 21-13 to seal another medal for the country in badminton. Earlier, Manoj’s Paralympics campaign did not get off to a bright start in Group A. he lost his first game 10-21, 23-21, 9-21 to compatriot Pramod Bhagat.
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Sarkar had taken up badminton at age five but it was the passion to win against his elder brothers which led him to play the sports seriously. He played inter school competition against able bodied players till the 11th grade before starting to compete in Para-Badminton in 2011. He won a gold medal in the SL3 singles at the 2016 Asian Championships in Beijing. In 2018, he received the Arjuna Award and a year later, he was named Para Sportsman of the Year at the Sportstar Aces Awards.