The country's history-making Paralympians were on Thursday felicitated by their national parent body, the Paralympic Committee of India, which hoped to produce more champion players in the coming years and win at least 25 medals, including 10 gold, in the next edition in 2024.
The Indian para-athletes returned from Tokyo Paralympics after an unprecedented medal haul of five gold, eight silver and six bronze. This was the country's best-ever Paralympics campaign as it finished 24th in the overall tally.
A gala dinner was hosted by PCI's Accessibility Partner Svayam to celebrate the remarkable success of the Indian contingent at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. The PCI said it will immediately start working with an aim to win at least 10 gold and 25-plus medals in the 2024 Paralympics in Paris.
"We are not going to waste any time. We will immediately finalize plans and start working with an aim to win at least 10 gold and 25 medals in Paris. That will put us between 10 to 15 position in the medal tally," PCI Secretary-General Gursharan Singh told PTI.
"This time we competed in only nine sports and won medals in five sports. Our aim is to take part in 15 sports in Paris out of the 22 sports in Paralympics. That will ensure us more medals. So we have to diversify the number of sports," he added.
Two shooters -- Avani Lekhara and Manish Narwal -- won gold medals while shuttlers Pramod Bhagat and Krishna Nagar also clinched the yellow metals. The fifth gold was won by javelin thrower Sumit Antil.
The likes of javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia and high jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu -- both 2016 Rio Paralympics gold winners -- won silver medals this time. Lekhara (gold and bronze) and another shooter Singhraj Adana (silver and bronze) were the ones to finish on the podium twice.
Archer Harvinder Singh and table tennis player Bhavinaben Patel won historic first medals in their respective sports with a silver and a bronze respectively. The PCI Secretary-General said that the government has also assured them increased funding for 2024 Paralympics preparations.
"We have been told by the ministry to submit a revised Annual Calendar for Training and Competitions (ACTC) and has assured us that there should not be any problem for allocating more fund," Singh said.
"We have to hire foreign coaches and buy top-class equipment for our athletes. We will also focus on more para-athletics events in which we can win medals like wheelchair race and more track events."
Meanwhile, PCI President Deepa Malik underlined the importance of accessibility for para-athletes to ensure their better performance. "Accessibility is one of the most important features of para-games. If we are able to make our grounds and stadiums accessible for our para-athletes, we will definitely get champion players," she said.
All of India's Tokyo Paralympians, including those using wheelchairs, were provided specially modified accessible vehicles by Svayam prior to their departure as well as upon their return home.
The special accessible vehicles for all their transport needs were provided by Svayam to ensure a dignified and comfortable transit experience.
Founder of Svayam, Sminu Jindal said: "It is possible for every individual to discover the best version of themselves if given the right opportunity. "We can do that by making our infrastructure and facilities accessible to everyone. India's triumph at the Paralympics is a clear example of that. And Accessibility for All is what Svayam strives for."