The Paralympic Games are held every four years for athletes who suffer from various disabilities. The Games, which generally follow the Summer Olympics, and will be held in Rio de Janeiro from 7-18 September. Just as India sent its largest delegation to the Rio 2016 Olympics, the Paralympics will also be represented by 19 athletes from the nation, the highest sent for the event till date.
The Paralympic Games are an attempt to provide an equal platform for athletes with disabilities to showcase their skills at a stage that lets them represent their countries. In order to differentiate between the various categories of legitimate disabilities, there are 10 categories, such as impaired muscle power, impaired passive range of movement, limb deficiency, leg length difference, short stature, hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis, vision impairment and intellectual impairment.
India’s athletes will take part in events such as club throw, javelin throw, high jump and shooting.Here is the list of 19 athletes who will represent the nation in Rio:
- Amit Kumar Saroha – Club throw
- Devendra Jhajaria – Javelin throw
- Mariyappan Thangavelu – High jump
- Sundar Singh Gurjar – Javelin throw
- Dharambir – Club throw
- Deepa Malik – Shot put
- Karamjyoti Dalal – Discus throw
- Ankur Dhama – 1500m
- Basha Farman – Powerlifting
- Rinku – Javelin Throw
- Narendra Ranbir – Javelin Throw
- Suyash Narayan Jadhav – Swimming
- Virender Dhankar – Shotput, Javelin throw
- Rampal Chahar – High jump
- Sandeep – Javelin throw
- Sharad Kumar – High jump
- Pooja Rani – Archery
- Naresh Kumar Sharma – Shooting
- Varun Singh Bhati – High Jump
India’s chances of winning medals are pretty high considering that the 2004 Athens gold medallist Devendra Jhajaria will be in action. Other than Jhajaria, Amit Kumar Saroha will also be pivotal in India’s medal hunt at the Paralympics. Speaking of prospects, high jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu’s record of 1.78m is slightly lesser than Egyptian record holder Hammad Hassan’s 1.81.
Therefore there is a definite chance that India can improve upon its solitary silver medal in the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and maybe even better the single gold medal that was won in Athens.
Other than Indian athletes, the favorites overall are two visually impaired athletes — Jason Smyth of Ireland and Omara Durand of Cuba — who are likely to be the fastest man and woman over 100 meters.
American Tatyana McFadden is hoping to become the first track and field athlete to win seven golds at one Paralympic Games. 74-year-old Libby Kosmala of Australia is competing in her 12th Paralympics; Jonas Jacobsson, 51, of Sweden in his 10th — both in shooting. Siamand Rahman of Iran will try to become the first Paralympian to lift 300 kilos in powerlifting. Zahra Nemati, who was the flagbearer for Iran in the Rio Olympics, is the first Iranian woman to win gold in either the Olympics or Paralympics — she won gold in archery in London’s Paralympics.