Buoyed by an unprecedented 107 medal-winning performance in the Asian Games, India is sending its biggest-ever contingent to the Asian Para Games, which will take place between October 22-28 in Hangzhou, China.
A total of 309 athletes from India including 196 men and 113 women will be competing in the 4th Para Asian Games. Comparing the contingent to that of the last edition of the Games, 188 athletes had represented the tricolour in Jakarta, four years ago.
India will participate in 17 disciplines, including five sports — Canoe, Blind Football, Lawn Bowls, Rowing, and Taekwondo — for the very first time. It will have big hopes from the squad which features 2020 Paralympic gold medallists Avani Lekhara and Sumit Antil.
Antil who recently broke his own world record with a throw of 70.83 to win gold in the men’s javelin F64 category at the World Para Athletics Championships has said he was targetting an even bigger throw in Hangzhou.
“The Para Asian Games are a major competition for me. I hope to make another World Record at these competitions. We have been getting a lot of support from TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) and the Government, so we feel there is a weight of responsibility on us to justify the faith they are showing in us,” the 25-year-old said.
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur also hoped that the Indian contingent would return with its best-ever performance at the Asian Para Games.
India’s previous best at the Continental Games was 72 medals including 15 gold medals, 24 silver medals and 33 bronze at the 2018 Para Asian Games in Jakarta.
“These athletes exemplify the true essence of sportsmanship and dedication. Their journey is a source of inspiration for all, highlighting that with determination and hard work, one can achieve anything. As a government, we stand firmly behind them and are excited to see them make India proud,” Thakur said.
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