India’s performance at the Tokyo Paralympics has been nothing short of impressive, with the contingent of 54 athletes picking up a total of 19 medals, including 5 gold. As para badminton made its debut at the Tokyo Paralympics this year, the squad of 7 para shuttlers from India were looking to amaze.
Among this contingent was Suhas Yathiraj, an ace para badminton player from Uttar Pradesh. Currently ranked world no.2 in the men’s SL4 category, Yathiraj bagged a silver medal at the Tokyo Paralympics. The group stage was an impressive affair for Yathiraj, as he finished off his first match against Germany’s Nikolas Pott in just 19 minutes, as he won 2-0. The second match was no different, and he won in straight sets against Indonesia’s Hary Susanto.
In fact, Yathiraj was so exceptional that he did not even drop a set until he reached the finals. Yathiraj’s golden moment was in the semifinals, when he beat future bronze medallist Indonesia’s Setiawan Fredy in straight sets, to assure a medal for himself. The finals saw Yathiraj take on the top seed Lucas Mazur of France, but went down 2-1 after a tough fight. Nevertheless, Suhas Yathiraj had scripted history, becoming not only the first bureaucrat to participate in the Paralympics, but also win a medal on the grand stage.
The first IAS officer to win a medal at the Paralympics, Yathiraj has been at the forefront of both his roles- performing at the Paralympics, and being a frontline worker during the covid-19 pandemic in India.
Suhas Yathiraj’s Courageous Contribution as a Frontline Worker During the Covid-19 Pandemic
Suhas Yathiraj is an IAS Officer from the batch of 2007, and is presently serving at the District Magistrate of Gautam Buddha Nagar. He graduated as a computer engineer from NIT Karnataka with distinction, and has served as a district magistrate in several cities including Agra and Prayagraj.
Currently the world no. 2 Yathiraj took up badminton as a hobby initially, but became a serious venture in 2016. Suhas was asked to inaugurate a tournament in Azamgarh, where he expressed his desire to take part in the tournament instead.
He went on to outshine several state level players in the tournament, which caught the eye of the current national coach of India, Gaurav Khanna, and so his badminton journey began. He made the headlines that very same year, becoming the first Indian bureaucrat to win a medal at the Asian Para Games, taking a bronze in the men’s team.
Suhas was one of the several frontline workers who dedicated their time and hard work in serving the country during the Covid-19 Pandemic that ravaged the world. Since being appointed at the District Magistrate in Western UP, Yathiraj has been at the forefront of the covid-19 pandemic management, and despite the busy schedule has also made an indelible mark in the field of badminton.
Suhas is supported by the GoSports Foundation under their para champions programme. In December 2016, Suhas Yathiraj received UP’s highest civilian honour, the Yash Bharati award.