Indian Athletes Make History, Bag 111 Medals In Hangzhou Asian Para Games
Indian para athletes created history on Saturday as they ended their Hangzhou Asian Para Games campaign with an unprecedented 111 medals.
Indian para athletes created history on Saturday as they ended their Hangzhou Asian Para Games campaign with an unprecedented 111 medals, the biggest haul for the country in any major international multi-sport event. With 29 gold, 31 silver and 51 bronze in their kitty, the Indian para athletes won four medals more than the record tally of 107 won by the able-bodied athletes in the Asian Games held from September 23 to October 8. India ended at fifth place in the medals tally, a remarkable achievement in itself, below China (521 medals: 214 gold, 167 silver, 140 bronze), Iran (131: 44, 46, 41), Japan (150: 42, 49, 59) and Korea (103: 30, 33, 40).
The first Para Asian Games was held in 2010 in Guangzhou, China, where India had finished 15th with 14 medals, including one gold. Four year later, India had finished ninth.
The only earlier instance of India crossing the 100-medal mark in a major international multi-sport event (Olympics, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games) was the 101 medals the country won during the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur said the performance was the result of forward-looking policies and the government's focus on the grassroots.
"This performance reflects the hard work of our athletes and the introduction of the right policies in sports under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Be it the Khelo India Scheme at the grassroots level or the Target Olympic Podium Scheme for elite athletes, the support extended through these schemes is indeed showing results now." He added that the three-fold increase in the sports budget since 2014 had helped the ministry cater to the needs of the athletes better.
"The increase of sports budget by three times as compared to 2014 has also given us the ability to extend better support to all our athletes, be it in terms of coaches, training, foreign exposure, diet and infrastructure." Paralympic Committee of India president Deepa Malik told PTI that the performance in Hangzhou gave her hope that the para athletes will bag more medals in 2024 Paris Paralympics.
"We have made history, our para athletes have done the country proud. We will win more medals in the Paris Paralympics than in Tokyo," she said.
"However, it is not a surprise for us. We expected (to win) between 110 to 115 medals and we ended at 111, the auspicious number (Angel Number)," she added.
On Thursday, India had gone past the earlier highest Asian Para Games tally of 72 medals (15 gold, 24 silver, 33 bronze) achieved in the 2018 edition.
India won 39 more medals than the 2018 edition with athletics contributing 55 (18 gold, 17 silver, 20) out of 111.
Indian shuttlers contributed the second most count with 21 medals, including four gold. Chess and archery gave eight and seven medals respectively while shooting contributed six.
On the concluding day on Saturday, India added 12 medals, including four gold. Seven medals came from chess, four from athletics and one from rowing.
Neeraj Yadav began the day for India with a gold in men's javelin throw F55 with a Games record of 33.69m. Compatriot Tek Chand clinched a bronze with a personal best of 30.36m in the same event.
Neeraj was diagnosed with Post-Polio Residual Paralysis at the tender age of seven but he always had the inclination towards sports and played wheelchair tennis from 2005 to 2012.
His life changed after he participated in the 2015 Delhi State Athletic Meet, winning gold medals in each of the three events -- shot put, javelin and discus throw.
The 39-year-old claimed a gold in javelin throw in the Asian para Games in 2018 before securing the yellow metal in javelin and discus throw in Marrakesh Grand Prix last year.
Dilip Mahadu Gaviot added another athletics gold winning the men's 400m T47 race with a time of 49.48 seconds. The 20-year-old from Nashik was only four-year-old when he had lost his right arm in an accident.
Born in a poor family of five members, Dilip found his calling when coach Vaijanath Kale spotted his talent during one of the inter-school events.
Dilip, who completed his schooling from Shahid Bhagat Singh School, went on to finish 4th in World Para Athletics Championship this year, earning him a Paris Paralympic quota.
Pooja then picked up the last athletics medal by bagging a bronze in women's 1500m T20 race with a time of 5:38.81s.
Chess players saved the best for the last with a seven-medal day, including two gold.
India swept all the three medals in men's individual rapid VI-B1 event with Satish Inani Darpan winning gold while Pradhan Kumar Soundarya and Ashwinbhai Kanchanbhai Makwana bagged silver and bronze respectively. The trio also bagged the team gold.
Kishan Gangoli won a bronze in men's individual rapid VI-B2/B3 event. Gangoli, Somendra and Aryan Balchandra Joshi won a team bronze in the same event.
The trio of Vruthi Saganlal Jain, Himanshi Bhaveshkumar Rathi and Sanskruti Vikas More won a bronze in women's rapid VI-B1 team event.
On Saturday, India also won the lone medal in rowing with Anita and Konganapalle Narayana picking up a silver in PR3 mixed double sculls event.
India had sent 313 athletes at the Hangzhou Para Asian Games, the biggest in any edition with 51 Tokyo Paralympians in the team.
India competed in 17 out of 22 events, with the country fielding athletes for the first time in rowing, canoeing, lawn bowl, taekwondo and blind football.
Nearly 4,000 athletes from 43 countries are competing across 22 sports in 566 gold-medal events in the Hangzhou Asian Para Games.
The Hangzhou Asian Para Games were originally scheduled to take place from October 9-15, 2022 but were postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. PTI PDS ATK UNG AM AM AH AH