100 days for Tokyo Paralympics - Who are India's medal hopes?
With exactly 100 days to go for the Paralympics, we look at Para-athletes who could win medals for India at the Tokyo.
Rakesh With all the noise surrounding the Tokyo Olympics, the Paralympics have been flying a bit under the radar. The pinnacle of sports for Para-athletes from all around the world, Paralympics are expected to be held from 24th August 2021 to 5th September 2021.
With exactly 100 days to go for the Paralympics, we look at Para-athletes who could win medals for India at the Tokyo:
Sundar Singh Gurjar
Hailing from the state of Rajasthan, Sundar Singh Gurjar is a javelin thrower who competes in the F46 events. The 25-year-old used to compete in the general section till the year 2015, before an unfortunate accident forced him to amputate his hand.
Someone who can easily throw the javelin 68m, Sundar is a World Para Athletic Championship gold medallist and also has a silver medal in the Asian Para Games against his name.
Sundar had also qualified for the 2016 Paralympics, but was disqualified for reaching the call-room just 52 seconds late before the start of his event at Rio de Janeiro.
A High Jumper who competes in the T42 category, Mariyappan Thangavelu was India's star athlete during the 2016 Paralympics winning the gold medal with a jump of 1.89m.
Having sustained a permanent disability in his leg at the age of five when a truck ran over him, Thangavelu grew up playing sports. He played Volleyball till a certain point of time before a physical education teacher from his school asked him to try high jump.
Since his Rio Paralympics gold, Thangavelu has grown leaps and bounds in stature and has been honoured by the Indian Government with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, and the country's fourth highest civilian honour – Padma Shri. He was also the flag-bearer of India at the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta.
Hailing from the northern state of Haryana, Ekta Bhyan is a club thrower who competes in the F-51 category. She shot to the limelight with her gold medal winning performance at the 2018 Asian Para Games.
Bhyan lived the first 18 years of life normally. It was in the year 2003 that she met with a terrible accident, severely damaging her spinal cord. The now 35-year-old took up para-sport in the year 2015 just to keep herself after being inspired by a para-athlete, Amit Saroha.
Besides, she also has multiple medals from the IPC Grand Prix in her bag and was named the ESPN Para-sports person of the Year in 2018.
Just 19 years of age, Manish Narwal is a pistol shooter who competes in the SH1 category.
A football enthusiast, Narwal wanted to make a career out of the sport but was not able to move beyond the club level due to a congenital impairment. Hailing from the state of Haryana, Narwal recently clinched a gold medal at the P4 Mixed 50m pistol event at the Para-Shooting World Cup.
Besides, he was the only Indian shooter to win a gold medal at the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta when he bagged a gold medal in the P1 men's 10m air pistol.
Hailing from the city of Jaipur, Avani Lekhara is a rifle shooter competing in the SH1 category.
Avani sustained a spinal injury in the year 2012 after a car accident and started shooting in the year 2015. She made her international debut during the Para-Shooting World Cup at UAE in the year 2017. The 20-year-old won a Tokyo Paralympic quota for India in the 50m rifle prone during her debut tournament.
Rakesh Kumar is an archer who specialises in the Men's Compound event. Rakesh sustained a spinal injury in the year 2007 due to a road accident leaving him restricted to a wheel chair.
Having started his archery career only in the year 2017, Rakesh secured his 2020 Tokyo Paralympics quota during the World Para Archery Championships at Hetrogenbosch in the year 2019.
Note: This list includes select athletes who have already earned quota for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.