India Will Win at Least 15 Medals Including 5 Golds at Tokyo Paralympics: Chef-de-Mission
India’s Chef de Mission for the Tokyo Paralympics, Gursharan Singh believes the country will produce its best ever performance this year, returning with at least 15 medals including five golds. India will field its largest ever contingent with 54 athletes set to compete in nine sports including Para Archery, Para Athletics, Para Badminton, Para Canoeing, Shooting Para sport, Para Swimming, Para Powerlifting, Para Table Tennis and Para Taekwondo.
“I am confident that these would be our best ever Paralympic Games. Our Para-athletes have worked very hard in the past years and shown great results in international competitions. They are raring to go for the Games,” Singh, secretary general of the Paralympic Committee of India, said in a release. “We are expecting around 15 medals including 5 golds at these Games. We have high medal hopes in Para Athletics, Para Badminton, Para Shooting and Para Archery.” India has a total of 12 medals including four gold in 11 Paralympic appearances.
The first batch of the Indian team, led by PCI President Deepa Malik, have arrived in Tokyo. T Mariyappan, who is India’s flag bearer at the Games, has also arrived in Tokyo and there will be a lot of expectations from the para high jumper to clinch his second Paralympic gold in Tokyo.
Mariyappan made a brilliant leap of 1.86 metres at the recent National selection trials. “It was one of my best performances (at selection trials) since Rio 2016,” said Mariyappan, who had suffered a permanent disability to his right leg in a road accident.
“I had an ankle injury in 2017 and it took some time to heal. It’s been a while since I had been looking to get my old rhythm back. And I believe I have got it back now. I feel I am ready for the Games. I will aim for the gold.” Apart from Mariyappan, India will have medal hopes from their Para Javelin throwers led by two-time Paralympic champion Devendra Jhajharia (F46). Reigning world champion Sundar Singh Gurjar and Ajeet Singh (also in F46), world champion and world record holder in F64 Sandeep Chaudhary and Navdeep Singh (F41) are others who would be ones to watch out for in Para Javelin. India is also banking on its shooters and badminton players to rise to the occasion in Tokyo.
World no. 1 and multiple-time world champion Pramod Bhagat will lead India’s Para Badminton contingent with the gold medal hopes resting on him in the men’s SL3 event. Among others, World no. 2 shuttler Krishna Nagar (SH6) and Tarun Dhillon (SL4) are other para shuttlers who are expected to do well. In archery, India will have Rakesh Kumar and Shyam Sundar (compound), Vivek Chikara and Harvinder Singh (recurve) and woman archer Jyoti Baliyan (compound individual /mixed event).