Sunday, September 19, 2021

54 athletes to represent India at Tokyo Paralympics beginning tomorrow

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games are all set to begin tomorrow with the opening ceremony set to kick off the event in style. The main concept for the opening ceremony is “We Have Wings”. During the sporting event, 54 Indian athletes will compete in 9 sports disciplines including Archery, Athletics (Track and Field), Badminton, Swimming, Weightlifting among others. This is the biggest-ever contingent India has sent to any Paralympic. All 54 athletes are part of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) scheme.

Bhavina Patel and Sonalben Patel, both belonging to Gujarat, are looking at putting their best foot forward at the Paralympic Games. The duo is participating at the Para Table Tennis Women’s singles Wheelchair Class 4 category and the Women’s singles Wheelchair Class 3 category respectively. They are pairing up for the Women’s Doubles event as well.

Bhavina and Sonalben start their qualification rounds on Wednesday. The qualifying rounds are scheduled for August 25, 26 and 27, while the semi-final and the final are scheduled for August 28 and 29 respectively.

21-year-old Aruna Tanwar is the sole Para-Taekwondo representative at the Paralympic Games from India. Haryana-based Aruna will participate in the Women’s under 49kg K44 category. She will be in action on September 2 from the round-of-16 rounds.

In Para Powerlifting, India is sending two of the best in Jai Deep and Sakina Khatun. While Sakina, born in West Bengal, has been training at the SAI National Center of Excellence in Bangalore, Haryana-based Jai Deep has been training at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Rohtak. Both are a part of the TOPS Core team.

It is worth recalling that on 29 July 1948, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, Dr. Guttmann organised the first competition for wheelchair athletes which he named the Stoke Mandeville Games, a milestone in Paralympic history. They involved 16 injured servicemen and women who took part in archery.

The Stoke Mandeville Games later became the Paralympic Games which first took place in Rome, Italy, in 1960 featuring 400 athletes from 23 countries. Since then they have taken place every four years.

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