1120 Athletes, 176 Events, 9 NADA Officials - Odisha set to host 20th National Para-Athletics Championship
Odisha is all set to kick off the 20th National Para Athletics Championships at the famous Kalinga Stadium and the KIIT University in Bhubaneswar from 28th March.
Odisha is all set to kick off the 20th National Para Athletics Championships at the famous Kalinga Stadium and the KIIT University in Bhubaneswar from 28th March 2022, Monday.
The three-day event will see a total of 1120 athletes from across the country competing in a total of 176 events, making it one of the biggest para-sports events ever to be held in India.
Out of the 1120 athletes, Uttar Pradesh has the highest representation with 147 athletes while Rajasthan and Gujarat take the joint second slot with 107 athletes each.
What stands out is the fact that more than 25% of the athletes expected to compete in the National Championships are women.
Speaking during a pre-event press conference, the President of the Paralympics Committee of India (PCI) Deepa Malik said, "We have close to 1200 athletes flying down to Bhubaneswar for the National Para-Athletics Championships. What is pleasing to note is the fact that about 25% to 30% of these athletes are female."
The event will also see a whopping 138 wheelchair athletes in action at the sitting events.
"We are also expecting more than 130 wheelchair athletes in action during the course of the event. Arranging for the travel of close to 130 wheelchair-bound people and ensuring complete accessibility is not easy and I believe we have managed to pull off something wonderful," the first Indian woman to win a Paralympics medal said.
Besides the 138 wheelchair athletes, the 20th National Para-Athletics Championships will also see a total of 758 physically disabled athletes, 153 visually impaired athletes, 44 athletes affected by cerebral palsy, 7 athletes with intellectual disabilities and 20 athletes of short stature.
NADA to keep a check on athletes
The National Championships will also witness the presence of 9 National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) officials, to keep a check on all the top athletes during the course of the four-day event.
"We will also have NADA officials present during the event to keep an eye on all the major athletes. A nine-member NADA team will reach Bhubaneswar tomorrow to conduct dope tests on our elite athletes," the Indian Para Athletics Chairman, Satyanarayan said.
Medical classification of athletes
The 20th National Para Athletics Championships will also see a lot of budding athletes being allotted their medical classification during a camp at the KIIT University on Sunday.
With the past two pandemic-filled years vastly affecting the rise of young, budding Para-athletes, this camp is expected to be a major boost to the para-athletic ecosystem in India.
"Specific medical classification camp is being organised at the KIIT University on Sunday. Last year we could not organise it due to the pandemic and as a result we did not see a lot of new athletes. This year is a very crucial one considering the fact that the CWG and Asian Games are around the corner," Deepa Malik said