The ongoing Tokyo Paralympics has witnessed Indian players bringing home laurels in three events held today, August 30. Avani Lekhara has won a gold in women’s 10m Air Rifle Standing (SH1) event, and Yogesh Kathuniya has bagged silver in Men’s Discus Throw (F56). Devendra Jhajharia and Sundar Singh Gurjar have won a sliver and bronze in Men’s Javelin (F46) event respectively.
Avani Lekhara Bags Gold- First for an Indian Woman at the Paralympics
19 years old Avani Lekhara has become the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Paralympics. She made a world record-equalling 249.6, a new Paralympic record in itself in the R-2 women’s 10m Air Rifle Paralympic record. She is now the fourth Indian athlete to win a Paralympic gold after swimmer Murlikant Petkar (1972), javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia (2004 and 2016), and high jumper Thangavelu Mariyappan (2016).
The Jaipur based shooter met with a car accident in 2012 which left major injuries in her spinal cord. She decided to opt for shooting after reading Olympic Gold medalist shooter Abhinav Bindra’s autobiography “A Shot at History”, whom she considers her inspiration.
“I can’t describe this feeling, I’m feeling like I’m on top of the world. It’s unexplainable,” she said after her victory. (quote from The Hindu)
Yogesh Kathunia Wins Silver in Men’s Discus Throw
In the Men’s Discus Throw (F56) event, Kathunia bagged a silver medal by finishing in second place with the best attempt of 44.38 m. Brazil’s Claudiney Batista dos Santos won gold by hurling the disc at 45.59m and Diaz Aldana from Cuba securing the third position (43.36m).
A rare neurological disorder had rendered Yogesh Kathunia’s all four limb muscles weak when he was nine years old. A B.com graduate from Delhi University’s Kirori Mal College, Yogesh Kathuniya set a world record at the Para-Athletics Grand Prix in Berlin, Germany in 2018. This was also his debut in an international discus throw competition. Kathuniya had thrown 45.18 meters in that tournament, which was over two meters farther than his Chinese competitor Cuiqing Li’s previous world record of 42.96 meters set in 2017.
It was during his graduation days in Kirori Mal college that his true potential was recognized by several coaches. A few years later, he started training under the guidance of coach Naval Singh.
Two Medals in Men’s Javelin (F46)
Devendra Jhahjaria and Sundar Singh Gurjar won a silver and bronze medal respectively in men’s Javelin (F46) events at the Tokyo Paralympics on Monday.
40-years old Jhahjaria has once again made the country proud with a throw beyond the 64.35m distance. Previously, he had won gold medals in the 2004 and 2016 games. He had lost his left hand at the age of eight after accidentally touching an electric wire.
Sundar Singh Gurjar took bronze in the men’s javelin throw F46 final, placing second behind Jhajharia. Athletes participating in a standing position with arm deficiency, decreased muscle power, or impaired passive range of motion in arms are classified as F46. Sundar, who has an acquired limb deficiency, began throwing the javelin in 2012 after being encouraged by a coach at a wrestling competition. ESPN India named him the 2017 Differently Abled Athlete of the Year. (espn.in, June 1, 2018)
Gold for Sumit Antil in Men’s Javelin (F64) Event
Sumit Antil has also secured a gold medal in the Men’s Javelin Throw (F64) event. He has also set a new world record through his winning effort of 68.55 meters. Today’s event was Antil’s debut performance in the Paralympic Games.
More Medals For India
Bhavina Hasmukhbai Patel and Nishad Kumar have also secured silver in Table Tennis and Men’s High Jump (T47) events respectively.