Dubai: Team India signed off their campaign at the Dubai 2019 World Para Athletics (WPA) Championships with the biggest ever medals tally – nine medals – finishing in the 24th position as the curtains fell on the nine-day competition here on Saturday.
Until Dubai 2019, London 2017 had been India’s best-ever show where the para-athletes finished with five medals (one gold) in the joint 34th place.
Dubai witnessed India recording two gold, two silver and five bronze besides a few fourth-place finishes, thus securing 13 qualifying spots at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Overall it was China who topped the medals tally with 59 medals including 25 golds.
Asian Para Games 2018 champion javelin thrower Sandeep Chaudhary stood out among the Indian performers setting a new world record (F44) en route clinching the gold with a personal best 65.80m in men’s javelin F64 category. In fact, in the same event, India had a one-two podium finish with Sumit Antil taking the silver (62.88m) and a world record in his own category (F64).
Meanwhile, Sundar Singh Gurjar defended his Worlds title in men’s javelin F46 with a season’s best distance of 61.22 metres.
Seasoned high jumper Sharad Kumar claimed the other silver medal for India clearing the bar at a season-best 1.83 metres in men’s high jump T63 finals.
Congratulating the team, Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) interim president Gursharan Singh expressed satisfaction over the team’s show and said: “The players have exceeded everyone’s expectations at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics”.
“I want to congratulate Team India for a great show. The players have lived up to our expectations. Besides the nine medals, the players also produced several personal and season’s best performances. There were also a few podium misses. I hope all the players can produce an even better show at Tokyo 2020. I thank all of those who supported and contributed to the Paralympic Movement in India reaching such a height,” he added.
The suspension of the PCI, he said, is unfortunate but that hasn’t affected the morale of the athletes and “they have proved that we are on the right track”.
“We hope that the suspension on PCI is lifted as per the best interests of Indian Parasport and its athletes.
“It’s a critical time for Para-athletes in view of the Tokyo 2020 Games. Although we are very happy to have the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs’ and Sports Authority of India’s support for the Paralympic Movement.”
The bronze medallists for India were: Thangavelu Mariyappan (men’s high jump T63), Yogesh Kathuniya (men’s discus throw F56), Nishad Kumar (men’s high jump T47), Ajeet Singh (men’s Javelin F46) and Vinay Kumar Lal (men’s 400m T44)
Ekta Bhyan (women’s club F51), Vinod Kumar (men’s discus throw F52) and Praveen Kumar (men’s high jump T64) and Rinku (men’s javelin F46) missed out on medals but secured Tokyo 2020 spots.