Blind athletes to strengthen India’s 302 member contingent to the Para Asian Games 2018

A total of 187 members are likely to be a part of India’s contingent to the Para Asian Games later this year which includes blind sportspersons from various fields like athletics, judo and chess. Among the medal prospects, India will be having the likes of Paralympic medallists Deepa Malik, Devendra Jhajharia, Mariappan Thangavelu, Varun Bhati and HN Girisha.

A massive 302 members including athletes, coaches, support staff, escorts, staff and officials will be flying to Jakarta as a part of the Indian contingent. “This would be India’s biggest-ever contingent. The increase in number of support staff is due to the additional requirements of blind sportspersons,” said a Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) official.

For the first time in the Asian Games, chess will be organised for the physically challenged as well as the blind participants. A total of 18 chess players have been shortlisted for the mega event. Apart from chess, India is scheduled to be a part of 12 disciplines – archery, archery, athletics, badminton, chess, cycling, fencing, judo, powerlifting, swimming shooting, table tennis, tenpin bowling and boccia (an indoor sport similar to lawn bowling).

The PCI is still awaiting approval from the sports ministry for the Indian contingent. The official was confident that the set of players has the capabilities to make it India’s best display ever. “We are hopeful that the ministry will clear the squad as our athletes have done exceeding well in international meets over the last few years,” said the official.

In the last edition of the Para Asian Games managed to accumulate a total of 33 medals including 3 gold, 14 silver and 16 bronze medals. Amit Kumar (javelin) won two gold medals while Sharad Kumar (high jump) won the other gold medal. Regarding the expectations at the upcoming games, the official said, “We are expecting our best ever performance. Over the last four years, our athletes’ performances have shown a rapid improvement.”

The Para Asian Games will begin on 6th October and conclude on 13th October in Jakarta, Indonesia.