India’s contingent of para-athletes has given India it’s seven medal haul (as of 30-Aug-21) at Tokyo 2020 Paralympic. It is the nation’s highest ever Paralympic record beating the previous-best tally of four at Rio 2016 and Stoke Mandeville/New York in 1984
Here are the seven great Paralympians who have brought ultimate glory to India.
1. Avani Lekhara
Teenage shooting sensation has become the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Paralympic Games. The 19-year-old shooting athlete won gold in the R2 (women’s 10m air rifle SH1). She also set the world record score of 249.6 at the Asaka Shooting Range. This was also India’s first medal in shooting in the Paralympic Games.
“I can’t describe this feeling; I’m feeling like I’m on top of the world. It’s unexplainable,” said Lekhara.
2. Sumit Antil
The 23-year-old star para javelin thrower made a historic maiden appearance at Paralympic Games as he bagged gold for the country. The world no.1 in his F64 category Antil broke his own previous records thrice in his allotted five attempts in the finals at the quadrennially held event. The star athlete set a new world record with his personal best throw of 68.55 meters
“In training, I have thrown 71m, 72m, many times. I don’t know what happened in my competition. One thing is for sure that in the future, I will throw much better,” said Antil.
3. Devendra Jhajharia
Jhajharia is definitely India’s greatest Paralympian of all time. The 40-year-old javelin thrower won his 3rd medal (silver) at the Tokyo Paralympics in the F46 event. The star para-athlete won his first gold medal in 2004.
4. Bhavina Patel
Bhavina won India its first medal at the Tokyo Paralympics. The 34-year-old won a silver for the country in her Class 4 Para-Table Tennis final where she lost to World No.1 Chinese stalwart Zhou Ying 7-11, 7-11, 6-11 playing on a wheelchair. She became India’s first-ever table tennis Paralympics medallist in her debut at the Games.
Kathuniya bagged silver in the men’s discus throw (F56) for India. The athlete also registered his best attempt of 44.38m in the event. The 24-year-old’s potential was noticed at New Delhi’s Kirorimal College after which he got the guidance of coach Naval Singh (Sumit Antil’s coach). The now Paralympic silver-medallist had earlier made a world record in the F36 category in his maiden international competition in 2018 at the Para-athletics Grand Prix in Berlin.
6. Sundar Singh Gurjar
Sundar Singh Gurjar won bronze in men’s javelin throw (F46) event at the Tokyo Paralympics. Gurjar registered the win with an exceptional throw of 62.58m. He said he was “elated to win” after his podium finish in Tokyo. “I want to thank my coach Mahavir Saini who trained me from 2009 to 2021 and stood by me in bad times. I also want to thank my family, SAI and PCI for support and PM Modi for motivation,” said the javelin thrower.
7. Nishad Kumar
Nishad won the silver medal in the men’s high jump (T46/47) category. He became the second Indian to win silver at the Tokyo Paralympics. The Indian para-athlete whose father is a daily-wage worker said “My father is still a daily-wage worker. First of all, I will ask him to stop doing that. I will tell him to stay at home with the family. I will also try to fulfill all my mother’s wishes.”