Tokyo Paralympics: Commemorating para-athletes who have won medals on Nation Sports Day

Here is a list of the most successful para-athletes of all time

Devendra Jhajharia in a file photo. (Credits: AP)

It is a different kind f feeling when para-athletes win medals for the country at Tokyo Paralympics, and it is even better when it happens on National Sports Day.

Here is a list of the most successful para-athletes of all time

Bhavina Patel

Paddler Bhavina Patel opened the medal tally for India at the Tokyo Paralympics Games, winning a historic silver medal in the women’s individual Class 4 Table Tennis on Sunday. The Indian went down to China’s World No.1 Zhou Ying in straight games 7-11, 7-11, 6-11 in 19 minutes. Bhavina had lost to Ying in her opening match of the Games before beating higher-ranked opponents to reach the final. This is India’s first medal in Table Tennis, fifth Silver at the Paralympic Games.

Nishad Kumar

India’s Nishad Kumar made the nation proud on Sunday, after clinching a silver medal in the T47 Final of the Athletics, Men’s High Jump event in the ongoing Tokyo Paralympics. Nishad added a second silver medal and the second medal overall in the nation’s tally as well, after paddler Bhavina Patel who delivered a fantastic performance. The 21-year-old matched his personal best as well as the Asian record of 2.06m, winning the first athletics medal of the ongoing prestigious event for India.

Nishad finished behind USA’s Townsend Roderick in second place with compatriot Ram Pal Chahar ending up fifth in the event, to narrowly miss out on a podium finish. While Roderick was the favourite being the world record holder, the Indian was always in the mix for a medal and he duly delivered on expectations astutely.

Vinod Kumar

Indian para-athlete Vinod Kumar achieved an incredible feat at the Tokyo Paralympics, as he managed to bag the bronze medal in the discus throw event. Not only did Kumar win a prestigious medal, but he also smashed the Asian record with a throw of 19.91m. The Paralympics debutant bagged the bronze medal in the men’s Discus Throw F52 final. The throw is also his personal best and it came in his fifth attempt. Polish para-athlete Piotr Kosewicz finished top of the podium, and bagged the gold medal with an incredible throw of 20.02m. He was followed by Croatia’s Velimir Sandor who finished second with a throw of 19.98m.

Devendra Jhajharia

Jhajaria was India’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony and broke his own world record in the men’s javelin throw event. In Athens, he had won India its second gold medal at the Paralympics with a then-world record throw of 62.15 meters. Javelin was not a part of the Beijing and London Games but back in Rio, Jhajharia delivered a stunning throw of 63.97 meters.

Jhajharia was the first para-athlete to be honoured with the Khel Ratna Award after his heroics in Rio. “It gives me great happiness,” he had said. “But it would have been even greater had I won it in 2005 after winning the gold and breaking the world record at the Athens Paralympics. So, it’s a bit late but I am happy nonetheless.”

Mariyappan Thangavelu

Mariyappan won India its first medal with gold in the men’s T42 high jump event. He, Sam Grewe, and compatriot Varun Singh Bhati had cleared the 1.86m mark and were competing for the gold medal. This was the only competition going on in the stadium and all eyes were on these three athletes.

But, Mariyappan clinched the top spot with a brilliant jump of 1.89 meters. He became just the third Indian athlete to win a gold medal at the Paralympics.

When he was five, Mariyappan suffered permanent disability in his right leg when he was run over by a drunk bus driver while walking to school. In March 2016, Mariyappan cleared a distance of 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in) in the men’s high jump T–42 event at the IPC Grand Prix in Tunisia, which ensured he would go to the Rio Paralympics. At the Rio Paralympics, he won the gold medal in the men’s high jump T–42 event, with a leap of 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in).

Deepa Malik

Malik became the first-ever woman to win a Gold medal at the Paralympics. This remarkable feat took place at the Rio Paralympics. With a personal best throw of 4.61 meters, Malik won the silver medal in the women’s shot put F53 event.

The then 45-year-old was the oldest member of the Indian contingent at the Rio Games. After winning silver in the shot put and discus throw events at the 2011 World Championships, she had received the Arjuna award in 2012

Murlikant Petkar

Murlikant Petkar was the first-ever Indian to have won a gold medal in the Paralympics. Petkar suffered debilitating injuries in an aerial attack during the 1965 war with Pakistan and was rendered paraplegic. He bagged the first-ever medal at the 1972 Games at Heidelberg, Germany. It was before the time of 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medalist Abhinav Bindra or for that matter, Devendra Jhajharia’s javelin throw gold at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens.

Petkar won gold in 50m freestyle 3 swimming in the then world record time of 37.33 seconds. He had earlier created a world record of 38.19 secs.

Sportslumo Desk

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