Rudrapur (Uttarakhand) [India], July 19 (ANI): Para-badminton player Manoj Sarkar who has made the cut in men's singles SL3 for Paralympic Games in Tokyo, stated that athletes don't have to fight just their opponent in the showpiece but the COVID-19 pandemic too.
Para-badminton is set to make its debut at the Paralympic Games in the Japanese capital next month and India will send a strong seven-member squad after the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Friday granted two bipartite quotas to the country. Para shuttlers Suhas L Yathiraj has been granted the quota in men's singles SL4, while Manoj Sarkar has made the cut in men's singles SL3 and will be joining the team led by World No. 1 Pramod Bhagat.
"I along with my coach Gaurav Khanna and family in Uttarakhand was very happy when we got to know that I was selected for Paralympic Games. I have dreamt about this moment with my both eyes open and closed, so there is no word to express my feelings," he told ANI.
"Playing in Tokyo for both Paralympian and Olympian will not be easy amid the COVID-19 situation. But I am sure this time we will not only play against the opponent on the court but will also battle it out against the COVID-19 and will win the medal for our country. It's an invisible enemy but we will not lose our motivation and will continue to fight for our country," Manoj added.
"Practice is going on very good and due to my coach Gaurav Khanna, there was no stoppage in practice," he pointed.
The addition of the two para shuttlers enhances India's medal prospect in the two men's singles categories. India already has Bhagat in men's singles SL3 and Tarun Dhillon in men's singles SL4 events.
The Team: Men's singles: Pramod Bhagat (SL3), Manoj Sarkar (SL3), Tarun Dhillon (SL4), Suhas L. Yathiraj (SL4), Krishna Nagar (SH6); Women's doubles: Parul Parmar and Palak Kohli (SL3-SU5) (ANI)