Global Sports

Para Badminton: Nepal's Adhikari growing in confidence

Team KT/Dubai
Filed on April 1, 2021
Nepal’s Prakash Adhikari in action in Dubai. — Supplied photo

Adhikari also admires Malaysian badminton legend Lee Chong Wei and India’s Kidambi Srikanth and watches their videos on YouTube to learn the game

Eighteen-year-old Prakash Adhikari from Nepal was nervous but grew in confidence with each match at the ongoing Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum 3rd Dubai Para Badminton International 2021 Championships, his first international competition after having played the sport locally in Kathmandu for the last four years.

Adhikari, who hails from Surkhet district in Karnali province of Nepal, was proud to represent his nation at the Championships; wants to gain experience and make the most of this opportunity in his nascent career. Nepal is participating for the first time at the Dubai 2021 International.

“For the last one month, I was just so excited about coming here and playing my first international championships. I am proud to represent Nepal and happy with the way I have played here,” said Adhikari who in fact became the first Para Badminton player from Nepal to compete internationally.

Adhikari, who has an impairment in the right side of his upper body, played the men’s singles SL4 singles and men’s doubles SL3-SL4 match. In the doubles, in fact Adhikari who teamed with Indian Dillaswar Rao Gadela for the first time managed to pull off a game before losing to 12-21, 21-19, 15-21 to India’s Mohammad Arwaz Ansari and Deep Ranjan Bisoyee.

“Yesterday I was very nervous, but today I felt comfortable in the court. My partner also helped me to settle down and covered the court.”

“When I started playing badminton, I didn’t have an idea about Para Badminton. We don’t have much facility for Para Badminton in Nepal so I used to play with abled body players. Now I want to play it professionally,” said the teenager who looks up to Indian Para Badminton stars like Tarun Tarun and Sukant Kadam in men’s SL4 category.

He also admires Malaysian badminton legend Lee Chong Wei and India’s Kidambi Srikanth and watches their videos on YouTube to learn the game.

Adhikari acknowledged the Nepal Badminton Association and Nepal Sports Council’s support to make his dream come true. “I would like to thank President of Nepal badminton association Ramesh Shrestha and Subash Shrestha from National Sports Council who have helped me a lot to come here and play. Indian national coach Gaurav Khanna also guided me in the last one year. So, thank you to him also.”

“My dream is to play at the Paralympics and win matches for my country one day,” said the 12th standard student who wants to pursue Law and then take up a job in Nepal government service. “I will have to study hard for that.”

Meanwhile, it was another comfortable day for the seeded players at the Championships with Indonesia world champions Leani Ratri Oktila and Dheva Anrimusthi from Indonesia, France’s Lucas Mazur and David Toupe, India’s Pramod Bhagat and among others all comfortably winning their second-round matches.

Though doubles matches were the highlight of the day, a few singles matches including one went down to the wire.

Reigning world champion Manasi Joshi survived a second game scare against Ukraine’s Oksana Kozyna before she pulled it off 21-14, 19-21, 21-17.

“Today’s match is far from my best performance; the priority for the championships is to adapt to the court as soon as possible because the wind and the lighting gave me some problems. I hope I can perform better in the coming days,” said the 23-year-old Dheva who won his men’s singles SU5 match against India’s Chirag Baretha 21-15, 21-14.

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