An exceptional Paralympic campaign for India came to an end today in Tokyo. Following a wait that spanned 11 Paralympic Games, the Asian nation finds itself in the top 25 of the medal standings the Tokyo Paralympics. With 19 medals, which includes five gold medals, in their kitty, India finished 24th in their eleventh appearance at the event.
With an extra year in hand to gear up for the quadrennial event, India’s para-athletes put their blood and sweat into training. And it paid dividends on the big stage as their nation registered its best-ever performance. While 19 mounted the podium, numerous others, fell short of Olympic glory but didn’t fail their country as they put their best forward even under tremendous pressure.
India’s largest-ever Paralympic contingent does the trick at Tokyo Paralympics
India sent a record 54 athletes to the Tokyo games, nearly three times the size of the contingent that featured in the Rio Paralympics. Seldom did we know that the number 54 would become only one of the numerous records that the para-athletes would break at the Paralympic Games.
Para paddler Bhavina Patel opened the medal tally with a silver medal as she became only the first Indian to win a Paralympic medal in the sport. The second-place finish opened a floodgate of medals as India won as many as four medals including a gold medal on the occasion of national sports day.
Nishad Kumar won a silver in men’s T47 high jump before Avani Lekhara became the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic gold medal. The historic medal was followed by silver and bronze medals for Devendra Jhajharia and Sundar Singh Gurjar respectively in the F-46 javelin throw. Yogesh Kathuniya‘s silver medal in the F-54 discus throw capped off a great day for the country.
Sumit Antil smashes World record throce to win gold
India’s ace javelin thrower Sumit Antil took the Tokyo Paralympics by storm with a scintillating performance on a day the nation bagged as many as four medals. On his way to the gold medal in the F-64 category, Sumit smashed the World record not once or twice but thrice in the final to better it by 2 meters.
Para shooter Singhraj Adhana then added another bronze to India’s tally before high jumpers Mariyappan Thangavelu and Sharad Kumar secured second and third position each. Following a disappointing day, Praveen Kumar bagged a silver medal in the T64 men’s high jump to become India’s youngest Paralympic medallist.
Avani notched up yet another medal, this time a bronze in SH1 women’s 50m air rifle 3 positions to become India’s first female Paralympian to win multiple medals at a Paralympic Games. To top off an excellent day, archer Harvinder Singh put up a scintillating show in the shoot-off to secure a bronze medal.
Para shuttles shine on last two days
The final two days saw India clinch three gold medals including two double podium finishes. Manish Narwal bagged the gold medal on a penultimate day in the mixed 50m air pistol event as Singhraj bagged silver to win his second medal of the games. What followed was the brilliance of the Indian para shuttlers.
Pramod Bhagat put up a scintillating performance to win the gold medal in the SL3 category, India’s Paralympic medal in badminton. Following his compatriot’s footsteps, Manoj Sarkar secured the bronze medal. On the final day, Suhas Yathiraj faltered in the final before Krishna Sagar won the gold medal to finish India’s historic campaign in style.
The Tokyo Games, both the Olympics and Paralympics which followed, proved to be a memorable affair for India. We hope that these historic medal hauls will spark the revolution Indian sports has been longing for. Kudos to all the para-athletes who overcame numerous hurdles on their way to the top and step up when it mattered the most.