HomeMust KnowA glorious history of India at Paralympics

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.

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 TYPEName of the AthleteGames EditionSportEvent
GOLDMurlikant Petkar1972 HeidelbergSwimmingMen’s 50m Freestyle 3
SILVERBhimrao Kesarkar1984 Stoke Mandeville/New YorkAthleticsMen’s Javelin L6
SILVERJoginder Singh Bedi1984 Stoke Mandeville/New YorkAthleticsMen’s Shot Put L6
BRONZEJoginder Singh Bedi1984 Stoke Mandeville/New YorkAthleticsMen’s Javelin L6
BRONZEJoginder Singh Bedi1984 Stoke Mandeville/New YorkAthleticsMen’s Discus Throw L6
GOLDDevendra Jhajharia2004 AthensAthleticsMen’s Javelin F44/46
BRONZERajinder Singh Rahelu 2004 AthensPowerliftingMen’s 56 kg
SILVERGirisha Nagarajegowda 2012 LondonAthleticsMen’s High Jump F42
GOLDMariyappan Thangavelu 2016 Rio de JaneiroAthleticsMen’s High Jump F42
GOLDDevendra Jhajharia2016 Rio de JaneiroAthleticsMen’s Javelin F46
SILVERDeepa Malik 2016 Rio de JaneiroAthleticsWomen’s Shot Put F53
BRONZEVarun Singh Bhati2016 Rio de JaneiroAthleticsMen’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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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.NParalympic players of IndiaEvent
1Devendra Jhajhariajavelin F-46
2Ajeet Singhjavelin F-46
3Sundar Singh Gurjarjavelin F-46
4Sandeep Chaudharyjavelin F-64
5Sumitjavelin F-64
6Mariyappan Thangaveluhigh jump T-63
7Sharad Kumarhigh jump T-63
8Varun Singh Bhattihigh jump T-63
9Amit Kumarclub throw F-51
10Dharambirclub throw F-51
11Nishad Kumarhigh jump T-47
12Ram Palhigh jump T-47
13Sonam Ranashot put F-57
14Navdeepjavelin F-41
15Praveen Kumarhigh jump T-64
16Yogesh Kathuniyadiscus throw F-56
17Vinod Kumardiscus throw F-56
18Ranjeet Bhatijavelin F-57
19Arvindshot put F-35
20Tek Chandjavelin F-54
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S.NParalympic players of IndiaEvent
1Ekta Bhyanclub throw F-51
2Kashish Lakraclub throw F-51
3Bhagyashri Jadhavshot put F-34
4Simran100m T-13

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

Top Para Athletes In India

S.NPara Athlete IndiaEventAchievements
1Mariyappan ThangaveluHigh jump T-42Gold medal in 2016 Paralympic games
2Devendra JhajhariaJavelin F-46First Indian Paralympic player  to win two gold medals at the Paralympics
3Naresh Kumar SharmaShootingBest finish in 2008 Beijing Paralympics: 5th
4Varun Singh BhatiHigh JumpBronze at 2016 Summer Paralympic Games
5Deepa MalikShot Put & JavelinGold in Javelin event at the para athletic Grand Prix held in Dubai in 2018.

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Silver medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympics.


6Suyash JadhavSwimmingSilver and a bronze medal at the 2015 World Games in Sochi, Russia,
7Ankur DhamaMiddle distance runnerwon two bronzes and a silver medal at the Asian Para Games in 2014
8Karamjyoti DalalDiscus throwBronze medal at theWorld Para Athletics Championships in London
9Rinku HoodaJavelin throwMember of the Indian team at the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro
10Rajinder SinghWeighlifterBronze medal at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in the 56 kg category.

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