Indian para-athletes are always at the leading position when it comes to winning medals for the nation. In 1968 Games, India made its Summer Paralympic debut. Moreover, India competed again in 1972 and didn’t represent until the 1984 Games.
The country has participated in every edition of the Summer Games since then. India continued to participate in each Paralympic Games thereafter but failed to make an impact till the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens when Devendra Jhajharia, Javelin thrower, won gold and Rajinder Singh won bronze for powerlifting in the 56-kg category.
Here are 10 Indian Para Athletes who made the nation proud:
Mariyappan is an Indian Paralympic High Jumper. In Rio de Janeiro, in the men’s high jump T-42 category he had represented India in 2016 Paralympic games held and won gold in the finals. Since 2004, he is India’s first Paralympic gold medalist.
He was awarded Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2017, for his contribution towards sports and in the same year, he was awarded Arjuna Award.
Devendra is an Indian Paralympic javelin thrower and the first Indian Paralympian to win two gold medals at the Paralympics. He achieved his first gold in the Javelin throw at 2004 Paralympics in Athens. At the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, he won a second gold medal in the same event and improved his previous record.
He has been awarded Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 2017, Padma Shri in 2012 and Arjuna Award in 2004.
Naresh Kumar Sharma
In the Rio 2016 Paralympics event, Indian shooter Naresh Kumar Sharma became the first Indian Paralympic athlete to book his place. The former Arjuna award receiver booked his fifth Paralympic place, having featured in every Paralympics since 1996, missing out only in Athens 2004. His best finish in 2008 Beijing Paralympics, where he finished 5th.
Varun Singh Bhati
Varun is a Para high jumper from India, having afflicted by Poliomyelitis at a young age, he joined sports during school days. In the 2014 Asian Para Games at Incheon, Korea he came out to be in the 5th position. He had won several medals in international events including bronze at 2016 Summer Paralympic Games he jumped 1.86 meters, his personal best and 2017 World Para Athletics Championships by clearing the 1.77m jump.
Deepa comes under the category of the first Indian woman to win a medal in Paralympic Games and won a Silver medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in the shot put. She has also won gold in Javelin event at the para athletic grand Prix held in Dubai in 2018. She currently is the world number one in the F-53 category. She was previously honored with the Arjuna award in 2012, at the age of 42 yrs.
Suyash is an Indian Para swimmer competing in the S7 Category. He has achieved the ‘A’ qualifying mark for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio and is considered to be the only Indian Para swimmer to do so . He won a silver and a bronze medal at the 2015 IWAS World Games in Sochi, Russia, conducted by the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation.
Ankur Dhama is the country’s first blind athlete in 30 years to participate at Paralympics in the year 2016 at Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. MA student at Delhi University, he took part at middle-distance running at the Paralympics with his partner Vipin Kumar.
The boy took part at the Asian Para Games in 2014 and won two bronzes and a silver. He also qualified for the Paralympics at the Asia-Oceania championships in March 2016, Dubai.
Karamjyoti who is an Indian para-athlete gave a bronze-medal winning performance at the World Para Athletics Championships in London and made our country proud.
Dalal threw the discus at the distance of 19.02 meters defeating Bahrain’s Alomari Roba who managed 19.01 meters in the F-55 category. Dalal couldn’t do her best in 2016’s Rio Paralympics.
But the 30-year-old made a strong comeback at Fazaa International IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Dubai earlier in March 2017 by winning a gold medal in the same category. She even earned a bronze medal and recorded the best effort of 19.02m in World Para Athletics Championships 2017 in London.
Rinku is a 17-year-old Indian para javelin thrower who competes in the F-46 category. He was a member of the Indian team at the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Rinku competed in Rio in the same category as fellow Indian Para athlete and 2004 Paralympic Games Gold medallist Devendra Jhajharia with his personal best of 54.39m, he secured the fifth position.
Last on the list of amazing Indian para-athletes is Rajinder Singh, a Paralympic powerlifter. He won a bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in the 56 kg category.
He represented India at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, finishing fifth in the final standings. Arjuna Award recipient represented India at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, United Kingdom but he failed in all his three attempts at 175 kilograms.
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