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Who are India's youngest and oldest para athletes who compete at Tokyo Paralympics?
The Tokyo Paralympics 2021 commences on the 24th of August. Among India's contingent, the youngest para athlete will be of the age of 18, whereas the oldest will be of the age of 48.
The Tokyo Paralympics 2021 commences on the 24th of August, and India will see its largest ever contingent, consisting of 54 athletes, competing at the main event.
Amongst this group of determined Paralympians, we see that age seems to not be an impediment.
Having the title of 'Youngest Athlete to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics' under her belt, Kashish Lakra epitomises the saying "If you are good enough, you are old enough". The 18-year-old athlete, hailing from Shalimar Bagh, had high aspirations from a very impressionable age. Originally invested in sports like badminton and freestyle wrestling, she had to change her ambitions due to unforeseen circumstances.
In November 2017, she suffered a spinal cord injury. But being restricted to a wheelchair did not dampen her love for sports. After she met Satyapal Singh, her coach, Lakra's goal was to represent India at the Tokyo Games, which now has become a reality. She has a plethora of medals to her name in state, national, as well as international level games. The athlete will be representing the country in the Women's Club Throw event (F51 Category). Lakra has her eyes on a podium finish at this year's games.
On the other side of the age spectrum, we see the veteran shuttler Parul Parmar going strong, even at the age of 48. Through hard work and sheer will, she has done well to leave her days of being affected by polio in the past, as she focusses on competing at this year's Paralympics. The Arjuna Award recipient has been the world champion twice, once in 2015 and again in 2017. Parmar's two gold medals and a bronze at the three Asian- Para games she participated in makes her a strong favourite in the upcoming games. Her achievements at the 2019 Para Badminton Championship in Uganda, a troika of medals in women's singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, will surely provide the required momentum to keep up her performances. Parmar will be playing in the SL-3 Category, and surely aiming to add a Paralympics medal to her tally.