Written by Sakshi Agarwal (Weloquent)
Yesterday (the 5th of September ‘21) marked the end of the 13 days long Tokyo Paralympics ‘21. After a stellar performance, the bevy of Indian athletes bagged the most number of medals for their country in the history of the event. Here is a list of the 17 athletes who have together added 19 medals to the country’s sporting history:-
Gold Medal Winners:
Women's 10m Air Rifle Shooting Standing SHl; and Bronze Medal for Women's 50m Rifle 3 Positions Shooting SH1
Avni created history as the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the Paralympics, and the 4th Indian to win a gold medal in the history of the game. She also created a new Paralympic world record with a total score of 249.6 in Rifle Shooting. The 19-year old hails from Jaipur and had sustained spinal cord injuries in an accident in 2012. That didn’t stop her from being the first Indian woman to win two medals in the games (she later bagged the Bronze medal in another event.)
Men's Javelin Throw F64
Breaking the world record multiple times during his debut performance at the games, Antil became the second Indian to secure a gold medal for the country during this year’s sporting events. He not only set the record but broke his own records, making his series read the most impressive for the day.
An able-bodied wrestler before losing his left leg below the knee in a motorbike accident in 2015, the 23-year-old hails from Sonepath and is currently a student at Ramjas College. However, his accident didn’t steal from his determination to excel in the sporting world.
P4 Mixed 50m Pistol SH1
Making a spectacular debut in the games, the 19-year-old not only bagged India’s 3rd gold medal, he also holds the world record in this category. From the town of Ballabgarh in Haryana, Narwal has an impairment in the right hand. He fuels his physical limitations by replacing the same with double the mental enthusiasm to succeed.
Badminton Men's Singles SL3
The game of badminton made its debut in the Paralympics this year and so did Pramod Bhagat, as the first Indian to win a gold medal and the title of World No. 1 in this sport. Hailing from Oddisa, Bhagat contracted polio as a 4-year-old, and is one of the best para shuttlers in the country. He doesn’t allow any set back to stop him from soaring his shuttle and luck high in the sky.
Badminton Men's Singles SH6
With a thrilling end to the final day of the Paralympics, Nagar worked hard for a gold after trailing 12 - 16 against Chu Man Kai in the opening game. He eventually did succeed in adding a glinting gold medal to India’s tally at the games. The 22-year-old is from Rajasthan, and has dedicated his medal to the COVID 19 warriors of the country.
Silver Medal Winners:
Women's Singles Table Tennis - Class 4
Hailing from Sundhiya village in Gujarat, the 34-year old was diagnosed with polio when she was 12 months old. Coached by her husband, she not only competed in the games in a wheelchair, but also bagged a silver in the game she was most passionate about.
Men's High Jump T47
Born in the village of Una in Himachal Pradesh, Kumar met with an accident at the age of 8 that resulted in the loss of his right hand. With his maiden appearance at the games this year, he has already set a new Asian record of 2.06m. He believes that his journey has only begun, and there’s no stopping him now.
Men's Javelin Throw F46
A Paralympic veteran, the 40-year-old bagged his 3rd medal with the best throw of 64.35m to win the silver this year. Brought up in Churu, Jhajharia lost his left hand at the age of 8 in an unfortunate accident with a live electric wire while he was climbing a tree. However, he allows no space for limitations in his life, and focuses instead on pursuing his bigger goals.
Men's Discus Throw F56
Son of an army man, the 24-year-old suffered a paralytic attack at the age of 8 which impaired the coordination in his limbs. However, when in Tokyo, he built up all his courage in his last attempt at the discus throw. Kathuniya sent the discus to the best distance of 44.38m winning him a sparkling silver.
P4 Mixed 50m Pistol SH1 and Bronze Medal for Men's 10m Air Pistol Shooting SH1
Bagging a Silver and a Bronze medal during this year’s games, Adhana became one of the few Indians to boast of the honour of winning multiple medals. The 39-year-old is from Bahadurgarh, Haryana, and competes with polio affected limbs and a strong spirit.
Men's High Jump T63
With the silver medal, Mariyappan became one of the three Indians to win multiple medals at the games, over the years. Hailing from Tamil Nadu, Mariyappan was left with a permanent disability at the age of 5 when a drunk driver ran a bus over his right leg, crushing his knee.
Battling poverty, and raised by a single mother, he has proven time and again that a strong will and determination can defeat all odds.
Men's High Jump T64
Though this was his maiden year at the Paralympics, not only did Kumar win a medal, he also set a new Asian record with a 2.07m jump. The 18-year-old is also the youngest in the contingent to bag a medal for the country. He suffers from a congenital impairment which affects the bones connecting his hip to the left leg, but his self-confidence makes up for his possible physical limitations.
Suhas L. Yathiraj
Badminton Men's Singles SL4
An IAS officer, appointed as the District Magistrate in Noida, Yathiraj went on to add another accolade for the country with a silver medal. He hails from Hassan, Karnataka, and has an impairment in one of his ankles - one that doesn’t stop him from working towards mastering his movements in the badminton court.
Bronze Medal Winners:
Sundar Singh Gurjar
Men's Javelin Throw F46
From Karauli in Rajasthan, the 25-year old Bronze medal winner had been competing in the general category for the game till 2015, when in an unfortunate accident while fixing a tin roof led to the amputation of the wrist of his left hand. He didn’t allow his journey to end there, in fact with a bronze in his hand, it’s only just begun.
Men's High Jump T63
Suffering from paralysis in his left leg after being administered a spurious polio-vaccine dose at the age of 2, Kumar has risen to all challenges by securing a medal at the Paralympics. He is a Sports Authority of India Coach and took to high jump in class 7.
Men's Individual Recurve Archery
Winning India’s first archery medal in the Paralympics, Harvinder has seared his name on our hearts. Belonging to a village called Guhla Cheeka in Haryana, Harvinder was administered an injection for dengue which adversely affected the proper functioning of his legs. He channeled all his energy and strength to his arms and mastered the sport of archery.
Badminton Men's Singles SL3
Despite contracting Polio at the age of 1, Manoj has been passionate about badminton since the age of 5. His courage to pursue the sport rewarded him with a Bronze medal at the Paralympics this year. The 31-year old hails from Rudrapur, Uttrakhand.
All in all, what we learn from all of their stories is that, if heart and spirit prevails, there is little that can stop you from achieving your dreams! What are the dreams that you are chasing? Tell us in the comments below.