Nishad Kumar and Vinay Kumar Lal became the 20th and 21st players from India to qualify for the Paralympics 2020, respectively, after the duo clinched the spot on Wednesday night at the Para Athletics World Championships that are being held in Dubai. It also means that the largest ever contingent will turn out from India in the Paralympics, breaking the previous best being 19 members who represented India in Rio 2016.
Nishad Kumar won a bronze medal in the men’s high jump T47 finals event with a personal best jump of 2 metres. He led the pack from the very start, clearing the bar at 1.75 metres and then 1.97 metres before Hongjie Chen of China pushed him with a jump of 2 metres. Chen eventually settled for silver after USA’s Rio Paralympic gold medalist Roderick Roberts cleared the bar with a jump of 2.03 metres.
Later, Vinay Kumar Lal, the bronze medalist in the men’s 400 metres, T44, T62/64 event in the Asian Para Games 2018, returned with India’s seventh medal in the competition and booked another spot to Tokyo as he won bronze in the 400 metres T44 event with a timing of 55.49. He was also the tenth male athlete to qualify for the Paralympics, after Vinod Kumar, Nishad, Yogesh Kathuniya, Praveen Kumar, Sundar Gurjar, Ajeet Singh, Rinku Hooda, Sandeep Choudhary and Sumit Antil had sealed their spots earlier.
With it, India also registered their best performance in the World Para Athletics Championships, beating the five medals that they won in London in 2017.
The only women athlete to have qualified thus far is Ekta Bhyan for the Club Throw 51 competition.
All in all, four archers, 11 athletes and six-shooters have qualified for the Paralympic Tokyo 2020 Games till now, taking the tally to 21.