The para-athletes from Uttar Pradesh performed to the best of their abilities during the inaugural edition of the Khelo India Para Games 2023, which was hosted in three venues across seven days in New Delhi. In second place on the medal tally, the North Indian state finished with 62 medals — 25 Gold, 23 Silver and 14 Bronze medals — to their name.
Among the top performers from the state was one of the biggest Paralympians in the country — Jyoti Baliyan. She is arguably the most renowned Para-Archers in India. She has represented her nation at multiple international events. In the Compound Individual Event, she lost to Sheetal Devi of Jammu and Kashmir in the final (141-138) to seal the silver medal as her own.
Baliyan is a winner of Silver at the World Archery Para Championship with Shyam Sundar Swami in the Compound Archery Mixed Team event after their defeat to Bair Shigaev and Tatiana Andrievskaia of the Russian Archery Federation (148-150). She was diagnosed with Polio, but despite setbacks, she has never backed down from any challenge.
Another prominent name from the state to make a name for himself was Shashank Kumar. The para-badminton star beat West Bengal's Ankit Pradhan 21-7, 21-9 for the gold medal in the men’s singles Badminton WH-1 category. Shashank, who suffered from Polio at the young age of four, is also a winner of the Silver at the Uganda Para-Badminton International Level-3 in 2022 and a bronze medallist in mixed doubles at the Brazil International Para-Badminton Tournament.
Preeti Pal bagged the gold medal in two different events — the Women's 100m T35 category with a timing of 15.65 sec, and the 200m T35/T37 category with a timing of 32.36 seconds. The Meerut-based sprinter missed out on a podium place at the Asian Para Games 2023 by a few milli-seconds in the 100 and 200m categories. Preeti was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a young age but is still among the top young para-athletes in the country.
Prachi Pandey, India's latest Para Table Tennis star, won Gold at the Khelo India Para Games. She beat Gujarat's Dhwani Shah 3-0 (11-3, 11-6, 11-2) in the final to clinch the ultimate laurel in her event. Her diagnosis of spina bifida, a condition that causes weakness or paralysis in the legs, did not deter her from becoming an ace Table Tennis player, and now, she is also working in the IT department at Microsoft.
Meanwhile, Javelin Thrower Dipesh Kumar sealed Gold with a brilliant throw of 26.05 metres. The Thrower prevailed in a battle with his statemate Pradeep Kumar, who won silver with a throw of 25.30 metres.