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Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games: 10 Important Highlights to know

Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games begin today: India can Create History again!

The Olympics fever is not yet over. The opening ceremony of the much-awaited 2020 Paralympics games took place in Tokyo, Japan today. This parasports event has returned to Japan after 57 years. Tokyo hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics. 

From India 54 athletes took the responsibility to make India proud again. While comparing to the 2016 Rio Olympics, the Indian contingent is 3 times larger this time.  Here are a few important highlights to need to know.

What are the Paralympics Games?

The Paralympics games represent the pinnacle sporting events for people with physical and intellectual disabilities.  

The Paralympics games date back to 1948 when an archery tournament for 16 individuals on wheelchairs was held at an English hospital. This was held as a part of patients’ rehabilitation coinciding with the London Olympic games. The event has now grown to compete with more than 4000 para-athletes and almost 164 countries participate in it. The major feature of the Paralympic games is their wide variety of events. 

At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, 33 sports encompassed 339 events. While in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics games 22 sports are encompassing 539 events. This is because of the broad range of athletes’ disabilities. Therefore, they require many corresponding events.

Medal contenders of Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games

This time not one but 2 ex Rio 2016 gold medallists Mariyappan Thangavelu and Devendra Jhajharia are in the stadium to defend their titles.

  1. Javelin throw:Jhajharia falls under F46 (for athletes with unilateral upper limb impairment) category. At the selection trials held in July this year, he broke his record of 65.71. Javelin thrower Sandeep Chaudhary and Sumit Antil are looked at as the biggest medal hopes for the country. They both are in F64 (for lower limb impairment) events.

2.High Jump: Mariyappan Thangavelu is a high jumper. This contender, who fails from Tamil Nadu is in the T63 (for athletes using prosthesis above the knee amputation) event. Varun Singh Bhati, a proud bronze medallist from Rio 2016, and Sharad Kumar, a double medallist from the Asian Para games also fall in the same category as Mariyappan.

 Badminton: Para badminton is going to make its debut in this Tokyo game. World no.1 SL3 category (players with impairment in one/both legs and poor walking/running balance) player Pramod Bhagat is not only just a medal hope for India but also capable of fetching Gold. At the Para World championships 2019, he won 2 golds.

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Tarun Dhillon and Krishna Nagar, both ranked No. 2 in the SL4 (impairment in one/both legs and minimal impairment in walking/running balance) and SH6 (players with a short stature) categories respectively.

Shooting: The 19-year-old Manish Narwal is setting high hopes in the men’s 10m air pistol event. He will be in the SH1(upper and/or lower limb impairment) category. In the Indian contingent, there are a total of 10 shooters.

Indian Paralympics Shooter Rubina Francis had set a world record this year. She bagged gold at the World Shooting Para sport cup held in Peru at the 10m Air Pistol event. This 22-year-old sharpshooter is in the SH1 event (athletes with upper and/ or lower limb impairment)

India’s flag-bearer Thangavelu Mariyappan will be replaced by Tekchand, an Asian Games gold medallist as the new flag-bearer. Mariyappan missed the chance as he came in contact with a covid positive person on the flight. 

You can watch the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics Games live on Doordarshan.

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Ayushi Mittal

In her journey to become a journalist, Ayushi can inculcate your tale through her news writings. You may find her with a mike in protests, rallies, or in museums. So what's your story?
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