Tokyo Paralympics: Top 5 most successful coaches of Indian para-athletes
India has won a total of 12 medals at the Paralympic Games. Here we look at the country's most successful coaches of the para-athletes
As the Indian contingent looks to make a mark at the Tokyo Paralympics there is a lot of hope and excitement as it has sent one of its biggest contingents ever for the Paralympic Games. After participating in games for the first time in 1972, India has won a total of 12 medals in the games and had an impressive outing in Rio 2016. While the success of the athletes has been well documented over the years, the coaches have often gone under the radar who have helped these athletes develop especially in a country that still requires a lot of support for the growth of para-sports.
Here we take a look at the top five most successful coaches of the Indian para-athletes.
1. Satyapal Singh
Satyapal Singh's achievements as a coach in para-sports are simply astonishing and in 2012 he was awarded the Dronacharya Award for his outstanding work in the field of coaching. Satyapal Singh is responsible for 54 International medals in para-sports at Asian Championship, Commonwealth, World Championship, and Paralympic Games.
At times due to lack of support, Satyapal Singh had sacrificed his own meager savings to support the development of athletes.
2. R.D. Singh
Well if it wasn't was for coach R.D. Singh (Ripudaman Singh Aulakh), one of India's most successful Paralympian Devendra Jhajharia's story might not have been the same. R.D. Singh spotted Jhajharia in a school competition in 1997. Apart from Devendra Jhajharia, R.D. Singh is also responsible for the success of other para-athletes such as Jagseer Singh and Sandeep Singh Maan, as both the athletes have won medals at the Asian Games and are also the recipient of the prestigious Arjuna Award.
R.D. Singh himself was honoured with the Dronacharaya Award in 2007 as he became the first person to receive this award for his achievements in para-sports as a coach.
Responsible for the tutelage of one of India's finest para-athletes, Mariyappan Thangavelu, coach Satyanarayan's effort cannot be overlooked. Satyanarayan took Mariyappan under his wing as he brought him to Bengaluru so that he can train at the Gyana Bharati SAI Sports Complex and develop his raw talent. Mariyappan would go on to win the gold medal in the men's T-42 high jump at the 2016 Rio Paralympics and became only the third Indian to win gold at the games.
Apart from Mariyappan, coach Satyanarayan has also been responsible for the success of Varun Bhati who won a bronze medal at the Rio Paralympics in the men's high jump T-42 category.
4. Gaurav Khanna
As badminton makes its debut at the Tokyo Paralympics, the Indian contingent has high hopes at the event with seven athletes set to compete and expected to return with at least a couple of medals. Responsible for the development of this team is coach Gaurav Khanna, who has spent the last fifteen years training athletes with disabilities and hearing impairments.
Gaurav Khanna has developed some really talented athletes which include World No.1 Pramod Bhagat (SL3), Krishna Nagar (SH6), and Tarun Dhillon (SL4). In terms of past achievements, under the coaching of Gaurav Khanna, the Indian para-badminton team since 2014 has won a total of 319 medals which includes 97 gold, 96 silver, and 126 bronze medals.
5. Amit Saroha
The only one in this list who is also currently competing at the Tokyo Paralympics as an athlete. Amit Saroha apart from being a two-time Paralympian and an Arjuna Award winner is also a junior-level coach at the Sports Authority of India where he's responsible for the training of fellow para-athletes.
Amit has previously won a gold medal at the 2014 Para Asian Games in the sport of club throw and he also won a silver medal in the discus throw at the same event in the F-51 category.
All eyes will be on Amit at the Tokyo Paralympics as he aims for a first medal at the Paralympic Games.