District Magistrate of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj scripted history by becoming the first ever serving Indian bureaucrat to win a Gold medal at the highest level of any sporting event. In the Asian Para-Badminton Championships that was held in Beijing, Suhas Yathiraj defeated Indonesian player Harry Susanto in straight sets by 21-4 and 21-11, in the final.
Suhas, who is an IAS officer, got a wildcard entry to the championships and ensured his seat in the finals by winning six consecutive matches. The Para-Badminton World Championships is an individual bi-annual event organised by the BWF. The highest ranked para-badminton players compete in six Sports Classes in five categories. The championship was organised under Para-Badminton World Federation (PBWF) before it decided to join with BWF in June 2011.
“It is a wonderful feeling. I can’t explain in words. We woke up to the gold news. I offered special prayers for his victory. His hard work and dedication to badminton materialised his dream to win the gold,” his wife, Ritu Suhas, told Hindustan Times over the phone.
Suhas is a 2007-batch IAS officer. The 32-year-old from Shimoga, Karnataka, worked as a software engineer in Bengaluru before clearing the civil services examinations. He practised with some local badminton enthusiasts after office every day at a stadium in Azamgarh and was part of the 26-member Indian team that landed in the Chinese capital to participate in the tournament. Besides Suhas, Abu Hubaida was another member from UP in the team.
Championship was hosted by National Paralympics Committee of China, which was held between November 22 and November 27, and included players from India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, South Korea and from several other countries.