HomeMust KnowA glorious history of India at Paralympics
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A glorious history of India at Paralympics

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India at Paralympics: Highlights

Many athletes have won medals for India at Paralympics Games, the world’s largest sports event for people with disabilities. A few Indian paralympic players have gone even farther, achieving world records while competing in the Paralympics. Murlikant Petkar swam a world record time of 37.331 seconds to win India’s first-ever Olympic gold in the 50-meter freestyle. India’s adventure in the Paralympics began in 1968, continued in 1972, and then stopped appearing until the 1984 Games. Since then, the nation has competed in every edition of the Summer Games. It has never featured in the Paralympic Winter Games.

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India at the 2016 Summer Paralympics has won 4 medals, matching their previous best haul from the event in 1984.

Origins of the Paralympics Games

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Image Source: Paralympics.org
  • The first-ever Paralympic Games were held in Rome in 1960, under the auspices of the International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation, following the Stoke Mandeville Games of 1948 and 1952, which were solely available to war veterans.
  • A total of 209 competitors from 18 nations participated in the first-ever Paralympics in Rome. Indians did not take competed in the 1960 and 1964 events.
  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) sanctioned the word Paralympics in 1988 in Seoul, which was also the first time in 24 years that both paralympic and the summer Olympics were hosted in the same city together.

READ | 10 Amazing Indian Para Athletes who made the Nation proud!

India at Paralympics – Debut

  • In 1968, India competed in their first Paralympic Games in Tel Aviv, Israel. The Indian delegation, which consisted of eight men and two women, sent a total of ten competitors to the Games. Indians were not able to rack up any medals at the Games, still, it was a great achievement that for the first time the country’s para-athletes had competed on such a large scale.
  • India won its first Paralympic medal four years later, in the 1972 Heidelberg Games in Germany. Murlikant Petkar, a para-swimmer, won gold in the 50m freestyle with a world record timing of 37.331 seconds. However, it was India’s lone medal in the Games, and it helped them place 24th overall in the medal tally among the 42 nations that competed.
  • After winning their first gold medal at the 1972 Paralympics, India did not compete in the 1976 or 1980 Games, with its next participation coming in the 1984 Games.

India at 1984 Paralympics Games

1984 Summer Paralympics - Wikipedia
Image Source: wikipedia
  • The 1984 Summer Paralympics were held in two different locations. Competitions for wheelchair athletes with spinal cord injuries were conducted at Stoke Mandeville, UK, while wheelchair and ambulatory athletes with cerebral palsy, amputees, and Les Autres were hosted at the Mitchel Athletic Complex and Hofstra University in Long Island, New York (others).
  • India concluded the competition with four medals, their biggest haul in the competition, and was tied for 37th place with South Korea.
  • Individual brilliance from Joginder Singh Bedi, incidentally, was essential in the country’s success. Bedi won a silver medal in the men’s shot put and subsequently bronze medals in the Discus and Javelin events. With silver in the javelin, Bhimrao Kesarkar gave India its fourth medal.

READ | Para-Sports – Indian Athletes and their Achievements

Medals by Paralympic Players of India

Medal TYPE Name of the Athlete Games Edition Sport Event
GOLD Murlikant Petkar 1972 Heidelberg Swimming Men’s 50m Freestyle 3
SILVER Bhimrao Kesarkar 1984 Stoke Mandeville/New York Athletics Men’s Javelin L6
SILVER Joginder Singh Bedi 1984 Stoke Mandeville/New York Athletics Men’s Shot Put L6
BRONZE Joginder Singh Bedi 1984 Stoke Mandeville/New York Athletics Men’s Javelin L6
BRONZE Joginder Singh Bedi 1984 Stoke Mandeville/New York Athletics Men’s Discus Throw L6
GOLD Devendra Jhajharia 2004 Athens Athletics Men’s Javelin F44/46
BRONZE Rajinder Singh Rahelu  2004 Athens Powerlifting Men’s 56 kg
SILVER Girisha Nagarajegowda  2012 London Athletics Men’s High Jump F42
GOLD Mariyappan Thangavelu  2016 Rio de Janeiro Athletics Men’s High Jump F42
GOLD Devendra Jhajharia 2016 Rio de Janeiro Athletics Men’s Javelin F46
SILVER Deepa Malik  2016 Rio de Janeiro Athletics Women’s Shot Put F53
BRONZE Varun Singh Bhati 2016 Rio de Janeiro Athletics Men’s High Jump F42

Medal drought from 1988 to 2000

  • After a record-breaking medal haul in 1984, India’s fortunes at the Paralympics were in sharp contrast. From 1988 through 2000, the Indian teams failed to place on the podium. The drought was finally broken at the 2004 Athens Olympics when India won two medals – a gold and a silver – to finish in 53rd place.
  • Devendra Jhajharia won gold in the javelin throw in 2004, while Rajinder Singh took bronze in the 56-kg powerlifting division.
  • India, on the other hand, drew a blank four years later in Beijing.
  • India’s performance at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games has improved.
  • HN Girisha, who won silver in the men’s high jump F42 category, helped India win silver in London in 2012. That was, however, India’s solitary medal in that edition.
  • India, on the other hand, put on an impressive display in the 2016 Rio Olympics, matching its biggest medal haul of four. All four medals were won in athletics, which is a strong strength for the Indian Paralympians.
  • Mariyappan Thangavelu and Devendra Jhajharia finished as champions as they won gold in the high jump F42 and javelin F46 events, respectively, while Deepa Malik got silver in the shot put event. Varun Singh Bhati bought us a bronze in the F42 high jump event.

READ | Complete list of Indian Flag bearers at Olympics: 1920 – 2020

The Controversy of 2012 Games Village

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Image Source: Money Inc

It was alleged at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, the Indian Team’s coaches and escorts were denied accommodation in the Games Village because their permits were being utilized by officials from the Indian Paralympic Committee. Six coaches and five escorts were meant to accompany the Team’s ten athletes, but only two escorts were given passes; Paralympic Committee general Secretary Ratan Singh confirmed that he had brought his son, the Committee president had brought his wife, and the treasurer had brought his wife and daughter.

India at Tokyo Paralympics 2020

Image Source: wiki

In addition, India will participate in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, with more than 20 berths already secured across 14 categories in Archery, Athletics, and Shooting. Harvinder Singh and Vivek Chikara made history by becoming the country’s first male archers to qualify for the Paralympic Games. Mariyappan Thangavelu, a 2016 Olympic champion, will also be part of the team heading to Tokyo and officially will be the flagbearer of the Indian contingent this time around.

READ | 44 Olympics Logos from 1924 to 2020

Indian paralympic players for Tokyo Paralympics 2020


S.N Paralympic players of India Event
1 Devendra Jhajharia javelin F-46
2 Ajeet Singh javelin F-46
3 Sundar Singh Gurjar javelin F-46
4 Sandeep Chaudhary javelin F-64
5 Sumit javelin F-64
6 Mariyappan Thangavelu high jump T-63
7 Sharad Kumar high jump T-63
8 Varun Singh Bhatti high jump T-63
9 Amit Kumar club throw F-51
10 Dharambir club throw F-51
11 Nishad Kumar high jump T-47
12 Ram Pal high jump T-47
13 Sonam Rana shot put F-57
14 Navdeep javelin F-41
15 Praveen Kumar high jump T-64
16 Yogesh Kathuniya discus throw F-56
17 Vinod Kumar discus throw F-56
18 Ranjeet Bhati javelin F-57
19 Arvind shot put F-35
20 Tek Chand javelin F-54


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S.N Paralympic players of India Event
1 Ekta Bhyan club throw F-51
2 Kashish Lakra club throw F-51
3 Bhagyashri Jadhav shot put F-34
4 Simran 100m T-13

Reserve: Sandi Sanjay Sagar (men’s javelin F-64)

Top Para Athletes In India

S.N Para Athlete India Event Achievements
1 Mariyappan Thangavelu High jump T-42 Gold medal in 2016 Paralympic games
2 Devendra Jhajharia Javelin F-46 First Indian Paralympic player  to win two gold medals at the Paralympics
3 Naresh Kumar Sharma Shooting Best finish in 2008 Beijing Paralympics: 5th
4 Varun Singh Bhati High Jump Bronze at 2016 Summer Paralympic Games
5 Deepa Malik Shot Put & Javelin Gold in Javelin event at the para athletic Grand Prix held in Dubai in 2018.

Silver medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympics.


6 Suyash Jadhav Swimming Silver and a bronze medal at the 2015 World Games in Sochi, Russia,
7 Ankur Dhama Middle distance runner won two bronzes and a silver medal at the Asian Para Games in 2014
8 Karamjyoti Dalal Discus throw Bronze medal at theWorld Para Athletics Championships in London
9 Rinku Hooda Javelin throw Member of the Indian team at the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro
10 Rajinder Singh Weighlifter Bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in the 56 kg category.

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