India’s Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj ended his campaign with a historic silver after going down fighting against top seed Lucas Mazur of France in the men’s singles SL4 class final at the Tokyo Paralympics on Sunday.
The 38-year-old Noida district magistrate, who has an impairment in one of his ankles, led 11-10 at the decider, but just couldn’t dial down the aggression, getting carried away in the big points. Lucas Mazur kept his calm and raced to win decider 21-15. The left-handed angles and end-game poise helped as the Frenchman claimed gold.
Suhas had lost to Mazur, who has won three gold medals in European Championships as well, in the qualifying group A match but made a tremendous effort in the final to challenge his world No. 1 rival.
The district magistrate of Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida) thus also became the first-ever IAS officer to win a medal at the Paralympics.
PM Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind congratulated Yathiraj on winning the Silver medal at #Tokyoparalympics2020. “Congratulations to Suhas Yathiraj who gave a tough fight to world #1 and won silver medal in badminton at #Paralympics. Your dedication in pursuing sports while discharging duties as a civil servant is exceptional. Best wishes for a future full of accomplishments” wrote President Kovind in a tweet.
A fantastic confluence of service and sports! @dmgbnagar Suhas Yathiraj has captured the imagination of our entire nation thanks to his exceptional sporting performance. Congratulations to him on winning the Silver medal in Badminton. Best wishes to him for his future endeavours. pic.twitter.com/bFM9707VhZ
“I’m quite happy with the performance but I should have finished it off in the second game,” Suhas told PTI after winning India’s third medal in badminton.
“So I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t finish it off because I had a handsome lead in the second game. But congratulations to Lucas. Whoever played better is the winner,” he added.
Listen In👇 pic.twitter.com/hbTFU0sqqo
— SAI Media (@Media_SAI) September 5, 2021
More medals are in store for India as Krishna Nagar also sailed into the men’s singles SH6 class final.
(With PTI inputs)