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Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

The inspiring tale of Indian powerlifters at the Tokyo Paralympics

They have both come a long way in their pursuit of excellence and have proven their will power time and again.

Para Powerlifter Sakina Khatun

Para Powerlifter Sakina Khatun


C.C. Chengappa

Updated: 25 Aug 2021 6:54 AM GMT

Amongst the many Paralympian headed to Tokyo, there are two specific athletes who have come a long way in their sports career. Powerlifting is tough as it is given that strength needs to be generated from almost every part of the body, but Jaideep Deswal and Sakina Khatun have made the impossible possible with their actions. We take a look at their journeys so far and how they have inspired others to take up powerlifting after them.

Jaideep Deswal

Jaideep Deswal is set to take part in the up to 65kg category at the Tokyo Paralympics. Currently employed as a coach with the SAI. Jaideep almost did not make it for the Paralympics as he missed out on the final qualification chance at the Dubai 2021 World Cup due to Covid-19 restrictions. He was given a bipartite quota slot after intervention by the World Para powerlifting Federation.
Jaideep was given an incorrect fever vaccination when he was just 4 years old. This resulted in bodily defects with his left leg going numb permanently. It was a barrier not too big for him as he maintained his interest in sport by taking up the discus throw from an early age.
He continued his pursuit with regular training in Rohtak and represented India at major events such as the 2012 Paralympic Games, 2017 World Championships. To add to it, Jaideep has also picked up powerlifting as recently as 2017 and managed to represent India at the World Powerlifting Championships.

Jaideep Deswal

Sakina Khatun

Sakina Khatun's story is more than heart rending. She hails from Karnataka where her father was a small scale farmer and the bread winner of the family. Sakina was diagnosed with Polio at the age of 4 and underwent several years of painstaking surgeries to help her get by.

She took to swimming at a young age as the doctors advised her it would help strengthen her muscles and help her develop physically. Despite enjoying it thoroughly, she did not end up being a professional swimmer.

However, a chance meeting with powerlifting coach Farman Basha helped put her on the path of Paralympic powerlifting. She began training around the age of 17 after completing her schooling and would make it a point to train at least 4 hours a day.

Her hard work would not go in vain as she managed to step up and qualify for the Commonwealth Games in 2014.Her jounrye continued with a bronze in the 61kg below category.

4 years later at the Asian Para Games, she won a silver in the 50kg category. Her highest position in the World Championships was 6th position. As of today, she is the only female Indian athlete to win a medal in the Commonwealth Games.

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