By: Mayurankhi Handique, The North-Eastern Chronicle
Visual by: Kunal Kaustav Duwarah
After a year of anticipation, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games are here. This is a must-see event with 12 days of sporting action. After having the most successful Olympics in history, with seven medals, India will send the largest delegation to the Paralympics in Tokyo.
A total of 54 athletes are expected to compete in nine sports disciplines. Competitions include archery, athletics, badminton, canoeing, shooting, swimming, power lifting, table tennis, and taekwondo.
History of Paralympics
The Paralympic Games are a major international sporting event for athletes with physical disabilities. The Paralympic Games are divided into Winter and Summer Games that alternate every two years, similar to the Olympic Games.
Sir Ludwig Guttmann organised a sporting competition in England for British World War II servicemen with spinal cord injuries, and the Paralympics were born in 1948. In a follow-up competition in 1952, athletes from the Netherlands fought against their British counterparts. Since the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, the Paralympics have been held at Olympic venues and used the same facilities (and the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France).
The International Paralympic Committee, which was founded in 1989 and is based in Germany, oversees the Paralympic Games. The Paralympic Games have grown in both size and variety throughout the years. In 1960, 400 competitors from 23 countries competed in eight sports at the Paralympics. More than 4,200 participants from 164 countries competed in 20 sports at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, little over 50 years later.
Meet some of India’s prior Paralympic medalists
India has won 12 medals in the Summer Paralympics since its introduction in 1968, including four gold medals and as many silver and bronze medals.
Murlikant Petkar won gold in the men’s 50m freestyle swimming event in a world-record speed of 37.33 seconds, becoming him India’s first ever Paralympic medalist. Petkar was a boxer in the Indian Army until he lost an arm in the 1965 Indo-Pak war, forcing him to convert to swimming and other sports.
Several more players have also excelled and brought home trophies for their country. Joginder Singh Bedi, Bhimrao Kesarkar, Davendra Jhajharia, Rajinder Singh Rahelu, Girisha Nagarajegowda, Mariyappan Thangavelu, Deepa Malik, and Varun Singh Bhati are the names of these paralympians.
India will compete in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo,2021
India is on track to host its first Paralympics after its best-ever Olympics, with a record 54 inspirational athletes competing for a medal haul that might reach double digits for the first time at the showpiece event.
India is competing in nine sports at the Paralympics in Tokyo, which are being held under strict safety and health protocols as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic, which has forced some countries to withdraw.
At least four Indians are ranked number one in the world, six are ranked second, and around ten are ranked third, indicating extraordinary achievement. Following the best-ever medal haul at the Olympics, which finished on August 8, paralympians look set to add to the ecstasy of sporting accomplishment.
Para-athletes look ready to add to the ecstasy of athletic achievement, with the government opening its budget constraints for them and many of them practising well at various Sports Authority of India facilities across the country.