In-Form Bhagat Charges Ahead

India and Indonesia will be pleased with their performances in the standing categories with five events completed in the qualifying period of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

The men’s singles Standing Lower (SL 3), for instance, has four Indians in the top 10, led by Pramod Bhagat in first place. Bhagat has had an exceptional season, winning four of his five events – Turkey, Dubai, Uganda and Ireland. The only title that eluded him was the Canada Para-Badminton International, where he fell in a thrilling semifinal to England’s Daniel Bethell, 22-20 in the third.

Three of Bhagat’s compatriots are in the top 10. Umesh Vikram Kumar, who fell to Bhagat in the final of the Uganda Para-Badminton International, is in fifth place, just ahead of Manoj Sarkar. Nitesh Kumar, semifinalist in Turkey, is in ninth place.

Tarun Tarun leads the Race to Tokyo rankings in men’s singles SL 4.

India also has two players in the top 10 of the SL 4 rankings. The top-ranked player is Tarun Tarun, who won the Uganda Para-Badminton International beating compatriot Sukant Kadam, and the Canada Para-Badminton International beating Lucas Mazur.

Mazur and Kadam are No.2 and No.3 respectively, while Suhas Yathiraj, who won the Turkish Para-Badminton International, is No.4.

Leading the rankings in women’s singles SL 4 is Indonesia’s Leani Ratri Oktila, who has won two of her three singles events. Oktila got the better of China’s Ma Huihui in Turkey and Japan’s Haruka Fujino in Canada.

Hary Susanto and Leani Ratri Oktila have won three tournaments this year.

Oktila also occupies the top spot in women’s doubles (SL 3 – SU 5) with compatriot Khalimatus Sadiyah Sukohandoko, and in mixed doubles (SL 3 – SU 5) with Hary Susanto.

Following last year’s exploits, for which Oktila was awarded BWF Para-Badminton Player of the Year, she has continued to dominate all three of her events. Oktila and Hary Susanto won their three tournaments this year, beating Ou Wie/Chen Hefang in Turkey, and Lucas Mazur/Faustine Noel in Dubai and Canada.

On the other hand, Oktila and Khalimatus Sadiyah didn’t have the ideal start to their season, as they fell to Japan’s Mio Hayashi/Ayako Suzuki in the semifinals in Turkey, but they bounced back, winning in Dubai and Canada, where they beat Cheng Hefang/Ma Huihui and Noriko Ito/Ayako Suzuki respectively.

Dheva Anrimusthi has been dominant in men’s singles SU 5.

Another Indonesian who has been in the limelight is Dheva Anrimusthi in men’s singles SU 5. Anrimusthi has won all three of his tournaments this season, beginning with Turkey, where he beat compatriot Suryo Nugroho in the final; Dubai, where he beat Malaysia’s Cheah Liek Hou; and Canada, where he got the better of Frenchman Meril Loquette.

Anrimusthi leads the rankings in men’s singles SU 5 with 2430 points, and is followed at No.2 by compatriot Suryo Nugroho, with 1280.

Meril Loquette and Cheah Liek Hou are in third and fourth place respectively.

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