kiTokyo Paralympics will be known for many historic wins, where our para-sports person made India proud on the international podium in Tokyo. The sports events kept the viewers gripped to the television as Indian players started bagging a trail of medals.
They were lauded and appreciated for their sporting spirit and for making us proud with their record-breaking performances. Here are the winners up until now.
On Monday, history was created by shooter Avani Lekhara, when she unfolded as the first Indian woman to win a Gold at the Paralympics in shooting. She fired her best shot in the R-2 women's 10m air gun Standing SH1 event here. A 19-year-old from Jaipur, who sustained medulla spinalis injuries when she met a car accident in 2012, she finished with a record-equaling total of 249.6. A record which is additionally a replacement Paralympic record and has a historic significance. Now she is the fourth Indian athlete to win a Paralympics gold after swimmer Murlikant Petkar in 1972, javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia in 2004 and 2016, and high jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu in 2016.
Javelin thrower Sumit Antil claimed India's second gold at the continued Paralympics, shattering the men's F64 category record multiple times during his spellbound debut performance in the Games on Monday. The 23-year-old refused to lose hope after losing his left leg below the knee in a tragic stake during a motorcycle accident in 2015, from Sonepat in Haryana. He threw the spear to 68.55m in his fifth attempt, which was the highest of the day by a distance landing him with a replacement record. He went on to crack the previous record of 62.88m, also set by him, five times on the day. His series in the Tokyo Paralympics was 66.95, 68.08, 65.27, 66.71, 68.55, and foul. Athletes with a leg amputation, fall under the F64 category, who compete with prosthetics during a motionless position. Antil, a student of Ramjas College, University of Delhi was an able-bodied wrestler but met with a tragic accident that led to the amputation of his leg below the knee. A para-athlete in his village encouraged him to carry on with his sporting spirit.
Discus thrower Yogesh Kathuniya secured silver for India with his best-ever performance and adding a feather to the cap of medal tally at the Games on Monday. The 24-year-old is a B. Com graduate from New Delhi's Kirorimal College, University of Delhi. In the sixth and last attempt to grab silver he threw the disc to the best distance of 44.38m. Kathuniya is a military man's son and endured a paralytic seizure at the age of eight which left him with the inability to coordinate his limbs later. But he never lost his spirit to perform well and bring glory to India with his performance.
Bhavinaben Patel on Sunday became the only second Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympics after she ceased her game with a historic silver. She performed with a 0-3 loss to the world-famous champ of China, Ying Zhou who is World number one in the rank list within the women's singles Ping-Pong class 4. She was quoted saying that her win in the table tennis in Tokyo couldn't have been possible without the support and guidance of her husband, who is also a sports person.
Veteran Devendra Jhajharia, two-times gold-winning javelin thrower, snatched a third Paralympic silver medal with his astounding performance in the Games. He is a 40-year-old with great experience and is India's greatest Paralympian since his gold medal wins in the 2004 and 2016 Games. This time he achieved a replacement personal best throw of 64.35m for the silver. When Jhajahria met with an accident by touching an electrical wire while climbing a tree at the age of eight, he lost his left forearm. In the Paralympics he improved his own earlier record (63.97m). Whereas the gold winner, Sri Lankan Dinesh Priyan Herath Mudiyanselage (67.79m), who set up a replacement record, had an upper hand in the field.
Sundar Singh Gurjar also brought in a bronze medal finishing behind Jhajharia within the men's javelin throw F46 final. The 25-year-old, who lost his left forearm in 2015 after a metal sheet fell on him at his friend's house, was third with a best effort of 64.01m. The Jaipur-based Gurjar had won gold within the 2017 and 2019 World Para Athletics Championships. He had also won a silver within the 2018 Jakarta Para Asian Games earlier and is hopeful of winning the golden glory for India soon.
High jumper Nishad Kumar bagged silver with an Asian record on Sunday. The 21-year-old Nishad, who is a farmer's son in Himachal Pradesh's Amb town, cleared 2.06m to win the silver in the T47 class. Nishad, got his right hand cut by a grass-cutting machine at his family's farm when he was an eight-year-old boy. In the Paralympics he cleared an identical height of 2.06m with American Dallas Wise who was also awarded a silver sharing the podium with him.
Singhraj Adhana won the second medal in shooting with his bronze medal in P1 men’s 10m air pistol SH1 on Tuesday. He hails from Haryana’s Bahadurgarh and is 39 years old who got affected by polio and took up his sporting spirit in 2017.
The highly celebrated former gold medalist in Rio Games, Mariyappan Thangavelu clinched a silver in the Tokyo Paralympics with a 1.86m high jump in the men’s high jump of T42 category. He Is now the third Indian player to have multiple medals at Paralympics. He hails from Tamil Nadu who suffered an accident on road leading to crushing of his knee. He rose above the poverty-stricken conditions and worked hard to achieve this position in sports with the support of his mother, who single handedly took care of him.
Following him Sharad Kumar also won bronze medal in the same event. He hails from Bihar and was a student of Kirori Mal College in University of Delhi. He suffered left leg paralysis due to fake polio vaccine when he was two years old and took up this sport in seventh grade. He got trained from Ukraine for three years for Paralympics and is also a coach in the Sports Authority of India (SAI).
As these hardworking players win accolades abroad for India, the issues of differently-abled players have received a highlight this year. The sporting facilities and equipment need to be updated timely with good coaching and encouragement. As the players have shown that India doesn't lack talent.
Image credit - News 18
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