India on the 11th of August bid a sound and sweet goodbye to their 54-member contingent for the Tokyo edition of Paralympics! This contingent is all-inclusive of World Class athletes. It includes flag bearer Thangavelu Mariyyapan, Vinod Singh Bhati, Devendra Jhajhariya, and many others. The “Good Bye and Best Wishes” ceremony was concluded on the 11th. With India sending 54 members this is India’s Largest Squad. It is 3 times larger than the squad sent to Rio in 2016. Here’s a look at some of the bright Indian medal prospects: –
Thangavelu Mariyappan: –
India’s flag-bearer also coincidentally is India’s strongest contender for a medal. Mariyappan, a “Gold Medalist” from Rio, is set to take part in the T63 high jump event. Born in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu, Thangavelu has the heart of a fighter. He suffers from a disability in his right leg due to an accident when he was young. But the accident couldn’t dent Thangavelu’s spirit of becoming a World Champion. With a leap of 1.89m at the Rio Games, Mariyappan won the Gold and now he has all the eyes set on him as he tries to defend his title!!
Sharad Kumar: –
Another competitor alongside Mariyappan is Sharad Kumar. He too is set to represent India in the T63 High Jump event. Sharad suffered a paralysis attack which paralyzed his left leg completely. It happened when he was a juvenile and went to take the polio vaccination which was wrongly administered. Hailing from Darjeeling, Sharad, however, has the will and might as large as the hills of Darjeeling. Born in 1992, Shard is former world number 1 in his sport. He has previously won the 2018 and 2014 Asian Games. In 2017 he won the silver at the world championships.
Bhagyashri Madhavrao Jadhav: –
Bhagyashri Jadhav happens to be another bright medal prospect for India in the shot-put event after, Deepa Malik bought a silver last time at Rio. Bhagyashri hails from the state of Maharashtra. She will represent India in the F34 Shot Put event. From the streets of Mukhed in Nanded to the streets of Tokyo to represent India, Jadhav has come a very long way. Her parents were farm laborers but never stopped Bhagyashri from playing the sport.
Devendra Jhajaria: –
Devendra too is a gold medalist from Rio. He is India’s only Paralympian to win two Gold Medals at the games. He has previously won the gold in 2004 Athens and 2016 Rio. His event is the F46 Javelin Throw. With Javelin Throw being a rage after Neeraj Chopra’s gold in that event a lot now relies on Devendra, the champion who has previously proven his mettle. Coming from Churu in Rajasthan State, Devendra lost his left hand after touching a live electric wire at the age of 8. But the spirit of gold, never let Devendra stop. Today he has the world behind him!!