Tokyo Paralympic Games: 54 athletes to represent India and start medal journey
New Delhi: 54 Indian athletes will compete in 9 sports disciplines, including archery, athletics (athletics), badminton, swimming, weightlifting, among others.
This is the largest contingent ever sent by India to the Paralympic Games. All 54 athletes are part of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).
Bhavina Patel and Sonalben Patel, both from the state of Gujarat, are looking to put on their best footing at the Paralympic Games.
The duo compete respectively in category 4 in wheelchair for women of para table tennis and in category 3 in wheelchair for women. They also team up for the women’s doubles event.
Bhavina and Sonalben begin their qualifying rounds in Tokyo on opening day, August 25. The qualifying rounds are scheduled for August 25, 26 and 27, while the semi-final and final are scheduled for August 28 and 29, respectively.
The duo trained under coach Lalan Doshi at the Ahmedabad Association of the Blind. While Bhavina is currently ranked 8th in the world in its category, Sonalben is ranked 19th. Both received the Sardar Patel Prize and the Eklavya Prize and were medalists at the Asian Games.
They are part of the core group Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) and both have received key interventions from the Indian government in terms of participation in international competitions. Bhavina also received financial assistance for the purchase of TT tables, a robot and a TT wheelchair for personal training, assistance with the costs of physiotherapy, dietitian, psychologist and trainer for prepare for the upcoming Tokyo Paralympic Games as well as sport specific equipment such as table tennis balls, pleats, rubber, glue etc for training.
Following in the footsteps of her older Para TT sisters, Aruna Tanwar, the only Para Taekwondo representative at the Paralympic Games in India, aged 21. Aruna, based in Haryana, will compete in the Women Under 49kg K44 category. It will be in action on September 2 from the round of 16.
Aruna, currently ranked 30th in the K44 category, is a silver medalist at the Asian para-taekwondo championship in Vietnam in 2018 as well as bronze medalist at the world para-taekwondo championship in Turkey in 2019. She is part of the Olympic podium. target. (TOPS) and also received financial assistance for the purchase of sport-specific equipment.
In para powerlifting, India sends two of the best to Jai Deep and Sakina Khatun. While West Bengal-born Sakina trained at the SAI National Center of Excellence in Bangalore, Haryana-based Jai Deep trained at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Rohtak. Both are part of the TOPS Core team.
Sakina, who will compete in the women’s up to 50kg category, is the only Indian Paralympic to win a Commonwealth Games medal when she won it in 2014 in Glasgow. She is also a silver medalist at the 2018 Para-Asian Games. Sakina’s disability is the result of the effects of polio contracted while she was a baby. After enrolling, she started powerlifting training in 2010 with financial support from Dilip Majumdar and her current trainer, Farman Basha.
Jai Deep, who competes in the Men up to 65 kg category, is an assistant coach with the Sports Authority of India. Both received key interventions from the Indian government in terms of participating in more than three international competitions and participating in national training camps with sports science support as well as sports equipment. They will both be in action in Tokyo during their respective finals on August 27.