The Logical Indian Crew

Looking Back At 2021- India's Pride At Tokyo Paralympics

At the Tokyo Paralympics 2021, Indian para-athletes won 19 medals for the country--five gold, eight silver and six bronze--making it one of the best campaigns in India's sporting history.

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Grounds, courts, tracks, podiums and pools have witnessed the zeal and ardour of millions of sports enthusiasts, encouraging their favourite sportsperson to adorn the glory of victory. Despite the fact that India hadn't been the best nurturing ground for sports enthusiasts, the interest people have in watching sports competitions is no less. When Indian sportspersons overcame the challenges of lack of infrastructure and trainers and climbed the ladders of fame and success through determination and hard work, a group of people flew to heights of triumph undeterred by the restraint put on their physique but haven't received the attention they deserve.

They are the proud Indian Paralympians who brought five gold, eight silver and six bronze in the Tokyo Paralympic Games held in 2021. Unlike other athletes who can utilise their bodies to full potential through hard work and consistency, para-athletes have to put in more effort to prepare physically and mentally to compete. When athletes brought seven medals to the country and landed in the 48th position in Tokyo Olympics, the Paralympians of our country brought 19 medals and landed in the 23rd position. This is a huge victory compared to the four medals won by India in the 2016 Paralympic Games.

How many of us have heard about the brave Paralympians who brought laurels to India with the belief that nothing in the world can stop them from enjoying the fruit of their success? As the year is coming to an end, let us have a glance at the five gold medallists who made India proud in the Tokyo Paralympics.

Avani Lekhara

Avani Lekhara is an Indian para shooter hailing from Jaipur in Rajasthan. By winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, she became the first Indian woman to win gold at the Paralympics. The 19-year-old para shooter scored 249.6 points to achieve the first position. As reported by International Paralympic Committee, she said,

"I can't describe this feeling, I'm feeling like I'm on top of the world. It's unexplainable. I was just saying one thing, that I have to take one shot at a time. There is nothing else that matters now, just take one shot at a time and just finish it."

A car accident at the age of 11 paralysed Avani's legs and lower body, but she was not ready to give up. She found interest in archery and moved to shooting after discovering that she is genuinely passionate about it. She put in her skills and consistency to attain heights.

Sumit Antil

Sumit Antil is a Paralympic javelin throw champion who broke the world record three times in his debut performance to bag gold in Tokyo Paralympic Games. In each attempt, he was competing with himself and won after hurling the javelin at a distance of 68.55m. Sumit hails from Sonipat in Haryana. He was a wrestling enthusiast right from a young age, but fate decided something else for him. At the age of 17, he met with an accident and his left leg got amputated. He couldn't pursue his dream of being a wrestler anymore. However, he didn't give up sports even after the accident. When life closed one door for Sumit, he found a way to another door, opened it wide and sprang forward to throw his javelin of success to the farthest place possible, leading to his biggest achievement of gold medal in Paralympics.

Manish Narwal

Manish Narwal is an Indian para pistol shooter hailing from Faridabad. In his debut outing in Tokyo, he won gold in the P4 Mixed 50m Pistol SH1 event. He had an impairment in his right shoulder right from birth and was unable to lift it. That was how he turned to a left-hander. He went a mile extra to utilise his left hand in the best way possible, which brought him all the success that e deserved. When the International Paralympic Committee asked him why he chose this sport, Narwal said,

"I always wanted to be a footballer as I loved outdoor sport. But due to my impairment, I couldn't play the game beyond the local club level. A close friend of my father told him to think about introducing me to shooting. My father took me to the 10X Shooting Academy in Ballabgarh [India], run by coach Rakesh Thakur. Had he not been there, I wouldn't have excelled in the sport. I owe my success to him."

Pramod Bhagat

Pramod Bhagat is a para-badminton player hailing from the Vaishali district in Bihar. Making his debut in Paralympics in 2021, he won gold in Men's Badminton Singles SL3. He is ranked number one in para-badminton men's singles SL3. He developed polio at the age of five, and it affected his leg. However, he was not the kind of person who would give up easily. When he was 13, Bhagat was fascinated by the game of badminton and decided to beat the odds through constant practice to make himself ready and fit for the game. After two years, he competed in the game and found it was meant for him. He concentrated on the game to achieve heights.

Krishna Nagar

Krishna Nagar, a para-badminton player from Rajasthan, brought to India the fifth gold medal on the final day of the Paralympics. He won gold in the men's singles SH6. His short stature had been a subject of laugh for many people. However, he didn't pay attention to any negative comments and concentrated on the positive comments and encouragements given by the people close to him. Adding to it was his determination which now made him conquer the medal. As reported by Times of India, after winning the gold in Paralympics, Krishna Nagar said,

"I am speechless and overwhelmed with the love that people are pouring on me. I have not even been able to sleep since then and could not check my messages on the phone as it keeps ringing. People from all corners have been calling up to congratulate me. I am surprised that even those who mocked me for my height are calling up to congratulate me."

Five of them had impairments that made it difficult for them in their stride towards success. However, they were determined to move forward. They did not lament their plight. Instead, they chose the path less travelled by, and that has made all the difference. These Paralympians are not just inspirations for the differently-abled ones to achieve their dreams, but for every one of us to run for our dreams. Them and their victory teach us something. All of us may not be born with a perfect pair of wings, but if we are determined to fly, we'll build our own pair and soar into the sky no matter what.

Also Read: Karnataka Becomes First Indian State To Draft Bill Protecting Cyclists, Pedestrians

Contributors Suggest Correction
Writer : Sayujya Surjit
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Editor : Snehadri Sarkar
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Creatives : Snehadri Sarkar

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