Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) on Friday lauded the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) initiative to host the first-ever Khelo India Para Games and called it the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of creating an inclusive sports eco system.
“I am very thrilled and overwhelmed that the first-ever Khelo India Para Games will be held in New Delhi this December. This initiative goes to show the government’s vision towards creating an inclusive sports eco system,” expressed Deepa Malik, president of PCI who is also the first Indian woman to win a medal in the Paralympics in shot put.
The ‘Praise4Para’ hashtag campaign launched by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) ahead of the prestigious Khelo India Para Games not only showcases the para athletes unprecedented rise in their performances at various national and international events but it also celebrates the joy of participation despite challenges.
“Personally, as someone with a disability and a para athlete now in an administrative role with the PCI, I am very happy that under the able leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and his vision of sab ka saath sab ka vikas, no policy is leaving behind a disabled person. And specially the sports ecosystem has become so inclusive over the years. I thank the MYAS and Sports Authority of India (SAI) who along with PCI are working towards creating a platform where we will have hundreds of para athletes compete under the aegis of Khelo India,” Malik added.
In an overwhelming response to the first edition of Khelo India Para Games, over 1350 para athletes will descend in the capital come December. Haryana will see the largest contingent with 242 para athletes representing their state while Rajasthan will send a strong contingent of 140 para athletes and Uttar Pradesh will send a contingent of 125. Gujarat will have 100 para athletes vie for honours while host city Delhi will have 97 participants, Karnataka will send a contingent of 84 para athletes and Maharashtra will field 77 while Himachal Pradesh will participate with 24 athletes.
It’s also interesting to note that 442 in women’s category will take to the field while 885 men will participate across 7 disciplines including para athletics, para shooting, para archery, para football, para badminton, para table tennis and para weight lifting. The events will be held across 3 SAI stadiums – the IG Stadium, Shooting Range in Tughlaqabad and the JLN Stadium.
Recent Hangzhou Asian Para Games stars Sheetal Devi, Bhavina Patel, Ekta Bhyan, Neeraj Yadav, Singhraj, Manish, Sonal, Rakesh Kumar, Sarita among others are expected to represent their respective states in the first edition of Khelo India Para Games.