Suhas L Yathiraj
Suhas L Yathiraj
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New Delhi: He has been a busy bureaucrat fighting the COVID-19 menace in the National Capital Region as Noida's District Magistrate but come during last week of August Suhas L Yathiraj will be representing India in the Para-Badminton event at the Tokyo Paralympics, starting August 24.

A look at Yathiraj's official twitter handle @dmgbnagar for the last 16 months have been dedicated on handling the COVID-19 virus and the young DM, who is an Asian Para Badminton gold and bronze medallist, will now be practising extra hours to bring glory to the country.

"Being the DM of Noida, it was a very challenging time during the pandemic. But I never gave up on my training and devoted all my focus and time into it. I am very much confident to clinch a medal at Tokyo 2020," said Yathiraj, an IAS officer of UP cadre and former DM of Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad).

The bureaucrat along Manoj Sarkar on Friday qualified after the game's governing body BWF granted two bipartite quotas to India, making it a seven-member contingent at the Tokyo Games, beginning August 24.

Yathiraj has been granted the quota in men's singles SL4, while Sarkar has made the cut in men's singles SL3, and will be joining the team led by world no. 1 Pramod Bhagat.

The addition of the two para shuttlers also boosted India's medal prospects 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.

"It's wonderful to have strong presence at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. Indian para shuttlers are doing very well in international events including Asian Para Games and World Championships, and now this is the time to lead the show in the Paralympics," chief national coach Gaurav Khanna said in a media release.

"It's great to have two shuttlers each in men's SL3 category and men's SL4 category which enhances our medal prospect. We wish to have the gold and silver in both the category."

"A little bit disappointing though as I was expecting more shuttlers to qualify since they did well in the recent BWF events." Sarkar described it as a "dream" come true moment to qualify for the Paralympics especially when the sport was making its debut.

"There is a lot of expectations on me and I hope to live up to it in Tokyo. My target will be a podium finish at the Games and I will be out to win the gold," said the former world no. 1.

Delighted at the two bipartite slots, Paralympic Committee of India President Deepa Malik said: "We are very happy with the latest development. Our para shuttlers have been doing really well in the international events in the past few years.

"And inclusion of Suhas L. Yathiraj and Manoj Sarkar have increased our medal chances. I wish them the entire team good luck."

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