Thu, 24 Sep 2020

New Delhi [India], Jan 24 (ANI): The preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic games have begun and India is looking for a record medal tally at the event.

The country is expected to send its biggest ever delegation to the games.

The interim president of the Paralympic Committee of India, Gursharan Singh, believes that an unprecedented 15 medals, five of them gold, are well within the country's reach.

His enthusiasm stems from the sterling display of the Indian Para athletes in the build-up to Tokyo that has already landed them 22 spots in the global event.

Singh, a former middle-distance runner, is confident the tally could swell to 35 by June when the qualification period for most Paralympic sports closes.

Archery, athletics, badminton, and shooting are the sports where India could gain 13 more slots in Tokyo, as per Singh's prediction.

He also marked out India's gold medal hopes - Sandeep Chaudhary (javelin F44), Sundar Singh Gurjar (javelin F46), archer Harvinder Singh (men's recurve open) and badminton player Pramod Bhagat (SL 3).

These numbers are paltry compared to China's haul (239 medals, including 107 gold) at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. But for a country where Para sports and Para athletes have struggled to get national attention in the past, it is a big leap.

Before 2016, India's best display at the Paralympics was in 1984 where they claimed four medals, two silver, and two bronze.

However, Rio Olympic 2016 ensured a level playing field for the Indian Para athletes and they were being talked about in the same breath as able-bodied athletes. (ANI)

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