Sports Minister felicitates Paralympic medal winners

The Indian athletes who won 19 medals in the Tokyo Paralympics were felicitated by the Sports Ministry in a warm and fitting function.

Devendra Jhajharia won the silver medal in the men's javelin throw. - PTI

The Indian athletes who won 19 medals - including five gold and eight silver - in the Tokyo Paralympics were felicitated by the Sports Ministry in a warm and fitting function on Wednesday.

Three-time Paralympics medallist Devendra Jhajaria - he won gold in 2004 and 2016 apart from a silver medal this time - was overwhelmed by the response of the whole nation to the deeds of the athletes, as he proudly said, "I have succeeded in my mission today."

Jhajaria had spent his own money to compete in the 2004 Athens Olympics, and has seen the Paralympic movement grow to inspiring heights. He said that the entire contingent was inspired by the Prime Minister’s interaction with the athletes.

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"Our country gives so much respect to the sportspersons that other countries are learning from our Prime Minister," Jhajaria said.

Suhas Yathiraj, the District Magistrate of Gautam Buddha Nagar, thanked the government for all the support and goaded the sportspersons by saying, "Every long journey starts with the first small step."

‘Happy, grateful’

Table tennis medallist Bhavina Patel said that she gained immensely by playing against an advanced robot which provided tremendous variety in improving her game. The 19-year-old rifle shooter Avani Lekhara, who won a gold and bronze, said she was "so happy, and so grateful. Still a long way to go."

The government support ensured that an electronic target system was installed at her place during the pandemic for high-quality training. "It kept me motivated and kept me positive. It helped me win the medals," said Avani.


Sports Minister Anurag Thakur said that every athlete cherished the way Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken to them. "I have seen a sea change in the way the government acts towards sports. The athletes get what they deserve. We will leave no stone unturned for supporting them in the future. No target is too high and no fear that they can’t overcome," said the minister.

The president of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI), Deepa Malik acknowledged everyone's support but was particularly appreciative of the coaches. "I congratulate the coaches, I salute all the gurus," she said, assuring that "we are getting better."

She was also happy about the increase in the number of women participating in the Paralympics: from having three women athletes in the last Paralympics in Rio, the Indian contingent had 14 women athletes this time in Tokyo, and they won gold and silver.

Former Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju congratulated every athlete and said, "You are the inspiration of the whole country."

The way the whole country was cheering for the athletes from Olympics to Paralympics and "celebrating sports," Rijiju observed, "now we have the sports culture."

The Minister of State for Sports, Nisith Pramanik, expressed confidence on witnessing the sports wave across India as he stressed, "We will go forward and achieve more."

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