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  OPBA aims high; Felicitates sports journalists
BHUBANESWAR,02 Jul 2019 (Team Orisports)
 

Odisha Para-Badminton Association seems to have done a nice job by producing as many as 10 international players since its inception in 2009. Men’s SL3 World No 1 Pramod Bhagat has been OPBA’s crowning glory, bagging around 25 international medals including 11 gold since 2007.

OPBA now has more than 50 para-badminton players, including 10 girls in its rank. According to the state body secretary Manaranjan Dash all efforts are being made to increase the player-base on priority basis. OPBA also plans to organise the Para-Badminton National Championship next year in Odisha and the State championship in Bhubaneswar.

 

Information regarding all these developments were provided by OPBA in a Thanks-giving and Appreciation Ceremony for Sports Journalists of Odisha, held on the occasion of World Sports Journalists Day at Hotel Presidency in Bhubaneswar today.

According to secretary Dash, helping Bhagat win the singles title in the BWF Para-Badminton World Championship and a medal in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, has become the major goal for OPBA. The World Championship is scheduled to be held in Basel, Switzerland from August 20 to 25, 2019.

According to Bhagat’s coach and mentor Siba Prasad Das, his ward will undergo training in Japan from July 5, under Target Olympic Podium (TOP) Scheme in order to prepare himself better for the World Championship.

``If Pramod does not make many unforced errors, he is sure to win the singles title in Basel,’’ opined coach Das. Daniel Bethell will be the main opponent for Bhagat in the battle for the singles crown. But with a 3-1 head-to-head record against Bethel, Bhagat will be favourite to claim the title.

The next and the challenge in Bhagat’s career will be the Tokyo Paralympics for which he is most likely to qualify. It is all the more important that badminton will make its debut in the Tokyo Paralympics Games. According Badminton World Federation (BWF) qualifiers list, the Odisha shuttler is now occupying the top position with 3350 points to his name.

Speaking on the occasion, Bhagat thanked all for the success he has achieved till date. ``I need your blessings to carry on with my journey,’’ said the ace shuttler from Atabira of Bargarh district.

Asked about the turning point of his career, Bhagat said: ``After winning singles gold medal in IBAD World Championship at Seoul in 2009, I gave up badminton for two years as did not get proper facility to train and support to compete at international level.’’

``Para-badminton and my achievements also did not get the recognition they deserve. I was heart-broken. But at this critical juncture, my coach Siba sir helped me a lot. It is his encouragement and support that made me come back from hibernation,’’ added Bhagat.

Speaking in the function, coach Das emphasized the need of better facilities for para badminton players in Odisha. He appealed to the state government to provide better infrastruce facility and financial support to the players to enable them bring more glory for the state and country.

On the occasion of World Sports Journalists Day, OPBA felicitated around 28 sports journalists of the state with mementos, citations and saplings. The journalists include: Sanatan Pani (Orisports.com), Suresh Swain (Sambad), Sambit Mohapatra (Nirbhaya) Tapan Swain (Dharitri), Samikhya Patnaik (News7), Himanshy Patimishra (Knews), Bijay Kumar Rana (Dharitri), Manoranjan Das (Pragativadi), Rajendra Mohapatra (PIB), Niranjan Reddy (OTV), Shakti Prasad Nanda (Samaya), Subhalaxmi Bal (News18 Odia), Benudhar Das (Samaj), Bimal Kumar Raula (Prameya), Dipti Ranjan Samal (Sambad), Sujit Kumar Das (AIR), Prafulla Sahoo (Sambad), Tanmay Das (Sports Logon), Kumar Sri (Dharitri), Soubhagya Kumar Rath (AIR), Santosh Kumar Mohanty (Sanchar) and Tushar Senapati (Dharitri).
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TOP: Pramodh Bhagat (Centre) with OPBA secretary Manaranjan Dash (Left) and coach Siba Prasad Das in Bhubaneswar on July 2, 2019.
RIGHT: OPBA secretary Manaranjan Dash felicitates Sports journalist Himanshu Patimishra in Bhubaneswar on July 2, 2019.

 
   

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