Paralympics and Seventeen Gallant Indian Sportspersons

by Deepanshu Srivastava

This article is a sequel to our article on Indian Paralympians. Here we put forward a description of the games and performance of the seventeen proud medal winners, in brief, in Tokyo Paralympic Games 2020 (their names appear in alphabetical orders in all the three types of medals) :

(A) GOLD MEDALLISTS – There have been the following 5 Gold Medallists,

(1) AVANI LEKHARA – The 19-year golden girl from Jaipur is a para rifle shooter. She is not only a gold medallist in 10 m air rifle shooting but she also clinched a bronze medal in the 50 m air rifle shooting. For her gold, she defeated reigning champion Zhang Cuiping of China. She bagged her bronze by scoring 445. 90 m. She earned the distinction of being the FIRST Indian woman to win 2 medals in the same edition of the Paralympic Games.

(2). KRISHNA NAGAR- A promising para shuttler also from Jaipur, Krishna Nagar won the gold medal in men’s singles badminton SH 6 event by defeating Hong Kong’s Chu Man Kai in three sets 21 – 17, 16 – 21, 21 – 17. He showed his superiority in backhand returns.

( 3 ). MANISH NARWAL – 19-year-old Manish from Faridabad is a para shooter in an air pistol event. He won his gold medal in mixed P 4 50 m air pistol shooting SH 1. His winning shot was 218. 20, which is a paralympic world record.

( 4 ). PRAMOD BHAGAT – Pramod Bhagat’s gold medal in men’s singles badminton came when he defeated convincingly Great Britain’s Daniel Bethill Margive in two straight sets 21 – 14, 21 – 17. This young man from Odisha had full control over the game right from the beginning.

( 5 ). SUMEET ANTIL – A F 64 men’s javelin thrower Sumeet bagged his gold medal by improving his own world record of 62.88 m almost by six meters. He started his throw with a world record of 66. 90 m and bettered it twice in his second throw (68.08 m) and in his fifth throw (68. 55 m). The world record holder Sumeet Antil is from Sonepat.

( B ). SILVER MEDALLISTS – There have been the following 8 Silver Medallists,

( 1 ). BHAVINABEN PATEL – The table tennis player from Mehsana, a 34-year-old paddler scripted history by becoming the first Indian table tennis player to secure a medal in Paralympics. She had a scintillating win over World Number 5 Borislava Peric Rankovic of Serbia in the semi-final of Women’s s single class IV event. She won her quarter-final in just 18 minutes.

( 2 ). DEVENDRA JHAJHARIA – Two times gold medal-winning javelin throw veteran, Devendra (40) from Churu, Rajasthan has completed the hat-trick of winning the medals at the Paralympic games. His first gold was at Athens games 2004 with a world record of 62. 15 m, the second gold came at Rio Paralympics 2016 with a world record of 63. 97 m which is higher than his own Athens World Record. At Tokyo Paralympics 2020 he won his third medal (silver) with his personal best throw of 64. 35 m which is better than his Rio mark ( javelin throw was not a part of paralympic games held at Beijing (2008) and at London (2012) ).

( 03 ). MARIYAPPAN THANGAVELU – The 25-year-old high jumper in T 63 event from Tamil Nadu won a silver medal with his best high jump of 1.86 m, which is his second Paralympics medal. An Arjuna awardee ( 2017 ) and also a Padma Shri in 2017, he has been a gold medallist of the Rio Paralympics 2016.

( 04 ). NISHAD KUMAR – A student of physical education from Punjab, Nishad was jointly declared a silver medallist along with US high jumper Dallas Wise by clearing 2. 06 m which is an Asian record set by himself in Dubai where he clinched a gold medal. A small-town resident of Una (HP) now eyes to repeat his Dubai performance at the next paralympic games in Paris, 2024.

( 05 ). PRAVEEN KUMAR – The 18-year-old Delhi University student competed in the men’s T 44 high jump event at Tokyo and won silver by climbing 2. 07 m which is his personal best. The gutsy Praveen achieved this milestone in spite of getting confined to his room for almost 45 days owing to COVID – 19 in April this year.

( 06 ). SINGHRAJ ADHANA – A proud owner of two medals – silver in P 4 mixed 50 m air pistol shooting SH 1 event has a total of 216. 70 points and a bronze in P 1 men’s 10 m air pistol SH 1 event with 216. 80 points. The 39 year – old Singhraj from Haryana picked up this sport only four years ago. But with his determination and belief, he quickly climbed the success ladder.

( 07 ). SUHAS L. YATHIRAJ – A rare combination of an administrator and a sports person, Suhas hails from Karnataka. Currently a district magistrate at Noida, UP Suhas clinched a silver medal in badminton and is a first-ever IAS officer to win a medal in paralympics. He won the silver after he lost the final against France’s Lucas Mazur in the men’s singles badminton event SL 4 by 21 – 15, 17 – 21, 15 – 21 in spite of winning the first set.

( 08 ). YOGESH KATHUNIA – A 24 year – old Yogesh clinched a silver medal in the men’s discussion throw F 56 event with the best distance of 44. 38 m in his sixth and last attempt. A commerce graduate from New Delhi, he created a world record in his first-ever international competition in 2018 held in Berlin.

( C ). BRONZE MEDALLISTS – There are six bronze medallists including Avani Lekhara and Singhraj Adhana who have won respectively gold and a silver apart from the bronze medal. The four remaining bronze medallists are as follows –

( 01 ). HARVINDER SINGH – World Number 23 archer Harvinder won India’s first medal in archery in paralympic games in the form of a bronze medal. Playing men’s individual recurve open event, 29 year – old archer scored a perfect 10 in the shoot-off beating Kim Min Su of South Korea with scores 6 – 5 in a closely fought contest to earn his medal. He lost his semi-final to Kevin Mather of the US with a score 4 – 6. A master’s and a doctoral degree holder in Economics and a resident of a small town Kaithal of Haryana, he has a passion for the sports of archery hopes to improve his performance in forthcoming international games.

( 02 ). MANOJ SARKAR – A  gold medalist at the 2016 Asian Championship held in Beijing, shuttler Manoj Sarkar from Uttarakhand won a bronze in men’s single badminton SL 3 category by beating Japan’s Daisuke Fujihara in two straight sets – 22 – 20, 21 – 13. His first set was a nail-biting clash while the second set was an easy cakewalk for him.

( 03 ). SHARAD KUMAR – Muzaffarpur’s Sharad Kumar became Bihar’s first-ever Paralympic medallist when he won a bronze medal in the F 42 category of men’s high jump in the Tokyo Paralympics Games.

( 04 ). SUNDAR SINGH GURJAR – The 25 year – old Sundar from Jaipur clinched a bronze medal finishing behind Devendra Jhajharia in the men’s javelin throw F 46 final with his best throw of 64. 10 m. This way India captured two medals out of three in the men’s javelin F 46 event in the Tokyo Paralympics – a rare achievement in international games.

NOTE – Discuss thrower Vinod Kumar won a bronze medal in the F 52 category with a throw of 19. 91 m but his classification in the F 52 category was challenged by other competitors resulting in Vinod Kumar losing his bronze medal after being found ineligible in disability classification assessment by the competition panel.

The above lion-hearted sportspersons have proven that mere physical disability cannot be a hurdle for achieving a target but it can be compensated with mental toughness and willpower. These young leaders have also given a message to the society to change its outlook towards ‘ Divyangs ‘. It should be our duty not to applaud their performances only after four years but to hail them consistently. Our salute to them.

About the Author:

A postgraduate in English and in Journalism and Mass Communication, Deepanshu Srivastava is a sports and fiction writer from Pune.

One Comment

  1. Dr. Vijendra Nath, Ph.D

    Excellent coverage of athlete’s backgrounds of medal winners of Paralympics games of Tokyo. Well written article. Best wishes to young author.

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