Top Indian para-athletes including Paralympic medallist Thangavelu Mariyappan, world record holder Sandeep Chaudhary and double world champion Sundar Singh Gurjar, will be seen in action at the 19th National Para Athletics Championships at the Chamundi Vihar Stadium in Karnataka from 26 March to 28 March. The three-day event, approved by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), holds significance as it is the last competition to secure qualification slots for 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
The Tokyo 2020 qualification deadline for para-athletics is 1 April. As many as 1,600 athletes from across the country are expected to feature in various disciplines in the championships. India has already booked 13 Tokyo 2020 berths at the Dubai 2019 World Para Athletics Championships last November. Mariyappan, Chaudhary and Gurjar are among those who brought home the laurels.
Moreover, the championships will be the first major competition to be organised by the newly elected Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) headed by decorated para-athlete Deepa Malik, a silver medallist in Rio 2016 Paralympics.
Meanwhile, the PCI was confident that the Sports Ministry will soon revoke the suspension imposed on it last year. PCI secretary general Gursharan Singh was hopeful that the Indian government will abide by the order and revoke the suspension at the earliest.
“We have submitted our papers to the International Paralympic Committee. We are now awaiting the completion of formalities by the Registrar of Societies after which we will submit it to the Sports Ministry,” PCI secretary general Gursharan Singh said.
“We are hoping that within two to three weeks, the government will revoke our suspension,” he said.
Even if the government does not recognise our body, still our athletes can feature under Indian flag in the Paralympic Games. We have been suspended by the ministry, but not by the international body, IPC.