India ended a historic campaign at the Tokyo Paralympics as they returned home with the highest ever tally of 19 medals. Apart from Athletics, para-badminton has been another sport where the Indians have dominated. Para badminton head coach Gaurav Khanna was overwhelmed with the performances of his players.
While Krishna Nagar and Pramod Bhagat bagged the elusive gold medals, Suhas Yathiraj settled for the silver medal and Manoj Sarkar won the bronze medal. Khanna claimed that he could not have got a better gift than this on Teacher’s Day.
“There can’t be a better gift than this. When I got the Dronacharya award, I had a feeling which I couldn’t express but this Paralympics with these medals, the feeling is no less than that. I’m overwhelmed,” Khanna, said during a virtual press conference.
Despite the joy of several para shuttlers achieving podium finishes, Khanna revealed that he was a little disappointed as he expected medals from Tarun Dhillon and Palak Kohli as well. He feels that the para shuttlers could have ended with more medals.
“The targets have been achieved but I am a bit disappointed because I expected medals from Tarun Dhillon and Palak Kohli. We will come back and take it as strong learning. If they had won the medals, then we could have ended with six medals, ” said the Dronacharya award winner in 2020.
Khanna’s focus now shifts to the Asian Youth Games as he wants to replicate this performance there as well. Speaking about the future he added, “I am feeling like as a coach, my exam is over, the session is over, so what’s next now? In few months, we will have Asian Youth Games, and I am hopeful of getting good results there as well.”
The Indian national Para badminton coach runs an academy called Gaurav Khanna Excellia Badminton Academy, said that the academy has all the modern facilities and has played a huge role in the Paralympics success.
“We have all facilities, dedicated courts. Sometimes there are issues with recovery when you play at this level. But now we have sports science, steam bath, ice bath, hydrotherapy, recovery issues been a great bonding and our professional training have helped us to win the medals.”