Indian para-shuttlers will clinch 10 medals in Paris Paralympics: Head coach Khanna

Para-badminton head coach Gaurav Khanna correctly predicted the Tokyo Olympic medal haul before the team's departure and looks confident that his wards will double the tally in the 2024 Paralympics.

Published: 29th December 2021 12:37 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th December 2021 12:37 PM   |  A+A-

Coach Gaurav Khanna with Indian para shuttlers.

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: The seven-member Indian para-badminton team grabbed two gold, one silver and as many bronze in the Tokyo Paralympics turning the country's focus on these differently-abled shuttlers. Para-badminton head coach Gaurav Khanna predicted the medal haul before the team's departure and looks confident that his wards will double the tally in the 2024 Paralympics.

"Before the team’s departure for Tokyo, I said that we will be back with five Paralympics medals, but we won four medals there, unfortunately a few of our players finished fourth in the debut of the para-badminton event. I am confident that in the coming Paris Paralympics our team will bring 10 medals," said Khanna.

The Tokyo success meant people's perception towards para-badminton has changed drastically. But that was not the case when they started the Paralympic journey in Lucknow. "There was no training for them so we had decided to go all-out with our limited resources. Without the support of the government and corporate houses, we set up a camp at Lucknow. These Olympic medallists stayed in a sports college. People won’t believe Krishna Nagar used to cook food for all and Manoj Sarkar and Pramod Bhagat used to help him. The auditorium did not have a proper lighting system and has a broken rooftop. We all used to clean and even dry up the badminton courts with our clothes during rainy days," informed Gaurav.

He was also all praise for the Odisha government for organising the 2021 national para-badminton tournament. "So far this is the best national para-badminton tournament. It's a perfect venue for hosting such tournaments. In the 2005 national tournament, around 60 players had taken part. In 2017 nationals, 107 competed while the number increased to 300 the next year. In 2019 at Uttarakhand, around 400 participated and now here in Bhubaneswar the organisers received more than 500 entries. I thank the Odisha government for providing such support to organise the national tournament. Pramod Bhagat also deserves applause for taking such initiative," added Khanna.

Speaking on the para-shuttlers, the head coach said, "For me these para-shuttlers are my family. Due to injury, I was forced to quit badminton in 1998. I was also the coach of deaf badminton national team. I had learnt sign language then so that I could communicate with them. While coaching the para-shuttlers, I understood that they all are different so I have to analyse their strengths and weaknesses individually and make separate programmes for each of them," he signed off.


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