India's Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj ended his campaign with a historic silver after going down fighting to top seed Lucas Mazur of France in the men's singles SL4 class badminton final at the Tokyo Paralympics on Sunday.
The 38-year-old Noida district magistrate, who has an impairment in one of his ankles, produced an entertaining performance before narrowly losing 21-15, 17-21, 15-21 to two-time World champion Mazur in 62 minutes.
Suhas had lost to Mazur, who has won three gold medals in European Championships as well, in the qualifying Group A match but the Indian made a tremendous effort in the final to challenge his world No. 1 opponent. The district magistrate of Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida) thus also became the first-ever IAS officer to win a medal at the Paralympics.
Suhas had earlier outwitted Indonesia's Fredy Setiawan 21-9, 21-15 in the semi-final.
A computer engineer, Suhas went on to become an IAS officer and is posted as a district magistrate of Noida since 2020, a role that saw him at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. On court, he won gold medals at 2017 BWF Turkish Para badminton championship in men's singles and men's doubles. He also won gold in 2016 Asia Championships, besides a bronze at 2018 Asian Para Games.
Bhagat-Kohli beaten in mixed doubles bronze medal match
The Indian mixed doubles duo of Pramod Bhagat and Palak Kohli suffered a narrow defeat to Japan's Daisuke Fujihara and Akiko Sugino in their bronze-medal play-off match, losing 21-23, 19-21 in the SL3-SU5 class badminton final that lasted 37 minutes.
They earlier lost their semi-final 3-21, 15-21 to the Indonesian combination of Hary Susanto and Leani Ratri Oktila.
The two pairs were neck-and-neck throughout the match. The Indians were 10-8 up in the first game but the Japanese came back strongly to level at 10-10. After that, the score-line read 14-14, 18-18 and then 20-20. The Indians were up 21-20 but eventually lost 21-23.
In the second game also, the two pairs were on equal footing and 10-10 at the midway point before the Japanese surged ahead to win 21-19 and pocket the bronze.
The 33-year-old Bhagat won India's first badminton gold at the Paralympics in the men's singles SL3 class on Saturday. He beat Great Britain's Daniel Bethell 21-14, 21-17 in 45 minutes. It was the 19-year-old Kohli's debut Paralympics.
In SL3 class, shuttlers with minor lower limb impairment play standing while players with upper limb impairment play standing in SL5.
Tarun Dhillon loses
Earlier, Indian shuttler Tarun Dhillon missed out on a bronze medal, losing to Indonesia's Fredy Setiawan in the men's singles SL4 badminton event.
Setiawan won 21-17, 21-11 to clinch the bronze medal in just 32 minutes.
Tarun got off to a decent start and gave a neck-and-neck fight before losing the first game 21-17.
In the second game, Setiawan continued his fine form and took an early lead. The Indonesian shuttler led 10-4 at the halfway mark. Riding high on confidence, Setiawan piled further pressure on Tarun to take the second game 21-11 and with it the bronze.