Though COVID may have cast a shadow on things, the year has been good for Indian sports. After a record haul at the Tokyo Olympics (with seven medals), the country's athletes made a splash at the Tokyo Paralympics and scripted history by winning a record 19 medals— the highest so far. The tally included five gold, eight silver and six bronze medals.
The medal rush continued even on the final day of competitions with Krishna Nagar winning a gold after Noida's District Magistrate Suhas Yathiraj finished off his brilliant run with a silver.
India first participated in the Paralympics in 1968. From 1968 to 2016, it won 12 medals. This time, however, para-athletes have raised the bar. The country only sent 19 athletes to the Rio Paralympics, where they took home four medals.
In total, 54 journeyed to Tokyo, with 17 of them receiving medals. "Phenomenal Rise of Indian Paralympians! A New Era has Begun," said Sports Minister Anurag Thakur.
The Paralympic Heroes Penned A Chapter In History
India's medal tally began by table tennis player Bhavinaben Patel clinching the first silver medal at her first Paralymic Games . Avani Lekhara and Singhraj Adana, both shooters, finished on the podium twice, establishing their histories in their first Paralympics.
Lekhara became India's first gold medalist in the women's 10m air rifle standing SH1 category and later added a bronze in the 50m rifle three positions at the Tokyo Paralympic. On the other Adana, who contracted the poliovirus when he was a child, began shooting at 35.
Adhana won a bronze in 10m air pistol and a silver in 50m pistol at the same Games, bringing his total medal count to two. Manish Narwal, who is only 19 years old and is already a world and Paralympic champion, emerged as yet another bright spot on the horizon.
Harvinder Singh, who was impaired after receiving incorrect dengue medication, clinched the first medal in archery. Krishna Nagar becomes the first-ever SH6 gold medalist.
In a record performance, Sumit Antil, javelin thrower, clinched the gold medal. Antil was pursuing a wrestling career, as his family desired when he was involved in a bike accident that resulted in the amputation of his left leg, forever altering the course of his life.
With a bar of silver in the high jump at the age of 18, Praveen Kumar became India's youngest medalist, setting an Asian record for a debutant whose left leg is impaired. Sundar Singh Gurjar, who finished second to Jhajharia in the javelin throw, was another shining star.
Gurjar lost his left hand in an accident, and he was disqualified from his first Paralympics in Rio after failing to register in time for his event. After the heartbreak, he fell into depression and considered never throwing the javelin again, but his coaches persuaded him to try again. This time, Gurjar was on the podium.