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Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

Why para athletics is India's best medal hope at Tokyo Paralympics?

India have a team of 24 athletes in para-athletics. This team have a good chance of winning more than the 4 medals.

Indian Para Athletes
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Indian para athletes

By

Kaustub Bharadwaj

Updated: 24 Aug 2021 9:03 AM GMT

Para-athletics has been an extremely successful sport for India at the Paralympics. Over the years, 10 of the 12 medals India have won at the Paralympics have come in para-athletics. All four medals India won at the Rio Paralympics were in athletics. This included two gold medals through Devendra Jhajharia in men's Javelin F46 and Mariyappan Thangavelu in the men's High Jump F63. It also included silver through Deepa Malik in the women's Shot Put F53 and a bronze through Varun Singh Bhati in the men's High Jump F42. This time India have a team of 24 athletes in para-athletics. This team have a good chance of winning even more medals at this Paralympics.

Who are the medal prospects in India's para-athletic contingent?

Devendra Jhajharia

Para-Athlete Devendra Jhajharia

Jhajharia is already a Paralympic legend having won two gold medals in the 2004 Athens and 2016 Rio games at the men's Javelin F44/46. He could not compete at the Bejing and London games because his category was not there at those Paralympics. He broke the world record when he won the gold medal in Rio five years ago with a throw of 63.97m. He broke his own world record once again with a throw of 65.71m earlier this year. He will be one of India's best chances for a medal at the Tokyo games.

Sundar Singh Gurjar

Para-Athlete Sundar Singh Gurjar

Gurjar will also compete in the men's javelin F46 category. He was one of India's best medal hopes in the Rio games but was disqualified from the event while Jhajharia won gold. Gurjar has since won gold at the 2017 and 2019 world para athletics championships. He will be one of the favourites in the event and one of India's best medal prospects in Tokyo.

Ajeet Singh

Ajeet Singh will also be competing in the men's javelin F46 category. He won a gold medal at the 2019 world para-athletics grand prix in Bejing. He also won a bronze in the 2019 world para athletics championships. He has a pretty good chance to win a medal. The Javelin F46 could be very special for India as it could a clean sweep of all the medals.

Mariyappan Thangavelu

Para-Athlete Mariyappan Thangavelu

Mariyappan Thangavelu was one of two Indian gold medalists at the last Paralympics and he will be looking to defend his title in the high jump at Tokyo. Mariyappan is already a legend and has been chosen to be the Indian flagbearer for the opening ceremony. He won a bronze medal at the 2019 world para-athletics championships and has a very good chance of winning a medal in Tokyo.

Varun Singh Bhati

Varun won a bronze medal at the Rio Paralympics and he will looking to win another medal in Tokyo. He won a bronze medal at the 2017 world para athletics championships. He also won a silver at the Para Asian games and is someone who is expected to win a medal at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Sumit Antil

Para-Athlete Sumit Antil

Sumit Antil will be competing in the men's javelin throw F64. He is the world's number one ranked athlete in this event. He threw a world record distance of 66.90m at the National para athletics championships, but it was not ratified as it was not an International Paralympic Committee (IPC) certified event. He won the silver at the world para athletics championships. He is a favourite to win a medal in Tokyo.

Sandeep Chaudhary

Para-Athlete Sandeep Chaudhary

Sandeep Chaudhary will also be competing in the men's javelin throw F64. He won gold at the 2019 world para athletics championships and is one of India's best hopes for a medal in the Paralympics.

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