Tokyo is hosting the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games from 24 August 2021. After the most successful Olympics for India, the Indian Paralympic contigent has already started competing in the Tokyo Paralympics. Till now, India has not won a single medal but hopefully, India will win some medals this year as well. Before we get to know about the upcoming Indian medalists, let's take a look at all the Indian medalists at the Paralympics.
The first ever Indian medalist at the Paralympics is Murlikant Petkar. He won the first gold medal for the country in Paralympics In the 1972 Heidelberg Paralympics. In the 50 m freestyle swimming event, he made a world record in 37.33 seconds. The Indian athlete did not Stop himself in the boundaries of swimming only. Firstly, he participated in the javelin, precision javelin throw, and slalom. Secondly, people formed exceptionally and was a finalist in all these three events. Before jumping into the world of Paralympics, He was a private jawan of the Craftsmen rank in the Crops of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers in the Indian Army. Cfn Petkar got severely injured due to bullets In the world against Pakistan in 1965 and this led to his disability.
In the 1984 Stoke Mandeville/ New York Paralympics, Indian athletes brought 4 medals home and Bhimrao Kesarkar was one of them. In the 1984 Stoke Mandeville/New York Paralympics, he won a silver medal in the men's javelin L6. India finished at the 37th position out of 54 participating countries in that year.
Indian Paralympic athlete Joginder Singh Bedi brought the Silver medal home at the men's Shot Put event in the 1984 Stoke Mandeville/ New York Paralympics. Also in the same event, he won a bronze medal at the Discus throw L6 and Javelin throw L6. As an individual at Paralympics Games, he is the winner of the most number of medals till now.
Devendra Jharjharia is the first-ever Indian Paralympic athlete to win two gold medals. For the first time at the 2004 Athens Paralympics, he brought the gold home and the second time was in the 2016 Rio Paralympics in Javelin throw. In the 2016 Rio Paralympics, he broke his own record with a throw of 63.97 m. He lost his left hand when he accidentally touched a live cable at the age of 8. RD Singh, his coach, and Dronacharya Awardee noticed him in a school competition and then started coaching him. In the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, he made his international debut.
Rajinder Singh Rahelu won a bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Paralympics in the 56 kg category. The Indian powerlifter suffers from infantile paralysis after getting polio at the age of 8 months only. Surinder Rana, his friend and another powerlifter encouraged him a lot and motivated him to play this sport.
Girish N Gowda brought a silver home in the 2012 London Paralympics at the men's High Jump F-42 category. He was born with a disability in his left leg, but he never let that come into the way of his dreams. The Paralympic high jumper is the recipient of the Arjuna Award and Padma Shri as well.
Mariappan Thangavelu made a leap of 1.89 meters at the men's High Jump T-42 event and won the Gold at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. At the age of just 5 years, he lost one of his legs after a bus ran over it. After all this, he worked hard to achieve his dreams and brought glory to him and his nation.
Another Indian Paralympic to win a medal in Men's High Jump F42 in the 2016 Rio Paralympics is Varun Singh Beti. The 21-year-old brought the bronze home and recorded his personal best jump of 1.86m. At a very young age, got diseased with polio. He was a student of St Joseph's school, Greater Noida and his talent was recognized by the school itself. The former National level athlete, Satyanarayana was his coach.
Deepa Malik is the first Indian woman medalist in a Paralympics event. She brought the Silver medal home in the Shot Put event at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. Due to a spinal tumour, she became paraplegic. Firstly, she is the first person who received the license for an invalid rally vehicle. Secondly, she is the first physically challenged person who received an official rally license from the Federation Motor Sports Club of India. Lastly, the Indian athlete participated in many rallies and promoted awareness of the facts and myths related to disabilities.
Table tennis player Bhavina Patel created history for India in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. Not only she became the first Indian table tennis player to qualify for the finals, she became the first medalist also.
Bhavina's journey was exceptional as she defeated multiple world champions to be in the final. She defeated World No. 9, 8 and 3 to make her way up to the semi-finals of the event. But, the dream could not continue as she was beaten by 0-3 to world number one Chinese paddler Ying Zhou in the women's singles class 4 final.
After Deepa Malik, she is now the second Indian woman to win a Paralympic medal.