Pune: Top seeded Sukant Kadam bagged his career’s second gold medal claiming the Spanish Para-Badminton International 2018 title at the Pabellón Municipal Alcudia, Majorca, Spain.
In the final the Nikhil Kanetkar Badminton Academy - NKBA trainee ended the challenge of No.2 Kyung Hwan Shin (Korea) 21-16, 21-16 to claim the ‘SL 4’ class in a battle that lasted 30 minutes.
Sukant’s victory over the Korean was significant as he suffered a loss to the Korean at the Asian Championship 2016 in China. Moreover, he also bettered his bronze-medal winning performance at Spain last year (2017).
The gold was the 25-year old’s second since he joined NKBA back in 2014. His maiden gold was in the Uganda event last year.
En route the title, the Atpadi taluka, Sangli-born player dropped just one game in the group stage against Pavel Kulikov (Russia), but ensured he finished with a 2/2 all-win record to make it to the main draw.
Sukant main draw campaign were straight game wins. In the semifinals he downed No.3 Rickard Nilsson (Sweden) 22-20, 21-11 in a 25 min match up. Earlier he downed Tim Haller (Germany) 21-16, 21-14 in the last 8 and opened his main draw campaign with a winnover Hugo Saumier (France) 21-17, 21-17.
Coping with disability in the left leg, Sukant explained; “Gold was the target since last year. I had a long streak that did not yield gold so far. The win in Spain has certainly boosted my confidence. I am also happy that the win also came whilst downing an opponent who I had lost to before.”
NKBA Director and Head Coach Nikhil Kanetkar, added, “Sukant is a fighter and his gold winning show signifies the determination he has to excel, which was done in a class-act.”
Results: (Main draws)
Final: bt 2-Kyung Hwan Shin (Korea) 21-16, 21-16.
Semifinal: bt 3-Rickard Nilsson (Sweden) 22-20, 21-11.
Quarterfinal: bt 5-Tim Haller (Germany) 21-16, 21-14.
Round 1: bt Hugo Saumier (France) 21-17, 21-17.
Round 2: bt Pavel Kulikov (Russia) 18-21, 21-8, 21-18.
Round 1: bt Constantinos Constantinou (Cyprus) 21-19, 21-14.