Indian para athletes have competed and made the nation proud many times over the years at the biggest stage for para athletes, the Paralympic games. However, they have not received the coverage they deserve and are not that well known by Indian sports fans. It is great to see an increased interest in the Paralympics in India in recent times. This is a brief history of the achievements of India's para athletes.
The first official Paralympics was held in Rome in 1960. This Paralympics included 209 athletes from 18 counties. However, India did not participate in the 1960 and the 1964 Paralympics. A total of 95 Indian para athletes have taken part in the Paralympic Games since its inception till 2016
1968 Tel Aviv Paralympics
The 1968 Tel Aviv games was the first Paralympics games to which India sent a delegation. The Indian delegation had 10 athletes. It included 8 male athletes and 2 female athletes. India did not win a medal at their first Paralympic games.
1972 Heidelberg Paralympics
India won its first Paralympic medal at the Heidelberg games. It was a gold medal won by Murlikant Petkar in the men's 50m freestyle swimming. He also set a world record of 37.33 seconds in the event. He was part of a delegation of ten athletes, seven male and three female.
1984 Stoke Mandeville and New York City Paralympics
India did not participate at the 1976 and the 1980 Paralympics. India then sent a delegation to the 1984 games which was held in two different places. The comeback was extremely successful as a delegation of five athletes from India won a record 4 medals. The success was largely because of the brilliant Joginder Singh Bedi who won three medals himself. He won a silver in men's Shot PutL6 and two bronzes in the men's JavelinL6 and the men's Discus ThrowL6. The other medal was a silver won by Bhimrao Kesarkar in the men's JavelinL6.
1988 Seoul Paralympics
India sent a delegation of only two athletes to the 1988 games. They did not win a medal.
1992 Barcelona Paralympics
India sent a team of nine athletes to the 1992 Paralympics. They did not win a medal
1996 Atlanta Paralympics
India sent an all-male team of nine athletes to the 1996 games. They did not win a medal.
2000 Sydney Paralympics
India sent a delegation of 4 male and no female athletes to the Sydney games. They did not win a medal.
2004 Athens Paralympics
After a gap of 20 years, India won two more Paralympic medals at the Athens games. India won its second gold medal through Devendra Jhajharia in the Javelin F44/46. India won a bronze medal through Rajinder Singh Rahelu in 56kg Powerlifting. They were part of a 12 athlete team India sent to the Athens games.
2008 Bejing Paralympics
India sent a delegation of five athletes to the 2008 games. They did not win a medal.
2012 London Paralympics
India sent a team of 10 athletes to the 2000 games. The country won a silver medal through Girisha Nagarajegowda in the men's high jump F42.
2016 Rio Paralympics
India had its best performance at a Paralympics in Rio. They won four medals overall including two gold medals. India sent a team of 19 competitors to the 2016 games. India had its first female Paralympic medalist through Deepa Malik in the Shot Put F53. The two gold medalists for India were Mariyappan Thangavelu and Devendra Jhajharia winning his second gold medal. Varun Singh Bhati won a bronze in the High Jump T42.