Pramod Bhagat and Nitesh Kumar will fight it out for the men’s singles SL3 gold medal as Indian shuttlers made it to three finals at the BWF Para Badminton World Championships here on Saturday.
Other finalists are youngster Manisha Ramadass in women’s singles SU5 and Manoj Sarkar, whom Bhagat will be pairing up for the men’s doubles SL3-SL4 final.
Bhagat defeated Japan’s Daisuke Fujiara Daisuke but only after he was stretched to the limit in the first game by the local star 22-20, 21-14.
In the other semi-final, Nitesh got the better of former Worlds bronze medallist Sarkar 21-10, 21-13 to reach his first Worlds final in singles event.
“It was a good match. I was confident of pulling off the match right from the start. But I was also aware of Manoj Bhaiya’s ability; he could make a comeback from any point. It feels good to enter my first singles final in a World Championships,” said Nitesh, who himself is a coach in an academy in Karnal, Haryana.
“We play quite often and know each other’s games. So tomorrow, the plan will be not to make any mistakes,” added Nitesh of his final against Bhagat.
Meanwhile, it is turning out to be a dream debut for promising Ramadass who entered the final of women’s singles SU5 final. The 17-year-old overcame a second game scare from Denmark’s Cathrine Rosengren to win it 21-19, 17-21, 21-17.
Otherwise, India encountered several upsets on the day, with defending champions Manasi Joshi and second seed Nithya Sre Sumathy Sivan crashing out of the World Championships losing their respective women’s singles last four matches.
After losing his men’s singles SH6 and men’s doubles SH6 quarter-finals, Paralympic champion Krishna Nagar faltered in the mixed doubles SH6 semi-final along with Nithya Sre Sumathy Sivan losing to Peru’s Nilton Quispe Ignacio and Giuliana Poveda Flores 21-16, 21-18.
In men’s singles SL4, Sukant Kadam exited too with a 22-20, 21-15 loss to Indonesia’s Fredy Setiawan
In women’s semi-final SH6, Sivan fought hard but wasn’t enough as she lost against Rina Marlina 21-19, 12-21, 21- 19, while Joshi faltered against Ukrainian Oksana Kozyna in straight games 18-21, 18-21 in yet another upset.
On the other hand, Turkey’s Halime Yildiz made light work of seasoned star Parul Parmar 21-11, 21-6 while the men’s doubles SU5 pairs of Rajkumar and Chirag Baretha and Hardik Makkar and Ruthick Ragupathi lost their matches too.
The finals will be played at the Yoyogi Stadium on Sunday.