Paralympics 2021: Women lead India's medal hopes in Tokyo

Bhavina and Sonalben Patel will compete in table tennis while Aruna Tanwar will start as the lone taekwondo player from India.

Sakina Khatun, who became the only Indian woman Paralympian to ever win a Commonwealth Games medal after claiming bronze in 2014 in Glasgow, will compete in the women's up to 50kg category     -  HANDOUT_E_MAIL

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will see women leading India's medal hopes in multiple disciplines, namely table tennis, taekwondo, and powerlifting.

Bhavina Patel and Sonalben Patel from Gujarat will lead India's charge in table tennis at the Tokyo Paralympic Games beginning August 25.  While Bhavina will participate in wheelchair class 4 category, Sonalben will compete in wheelchair class 3 category in women's singles.   They will also pair up for the women's doubles event.

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Bhavina and Sonalben will be in action on the opening day as they start their qualification rounds, which are scheduled to be held on August 25, 26, and 27. The semifinal and the final are slated for August 28 and 29. Bhavina is currently ranked No. 8 in the world while Sonalben is ranked 19th. The duo, both medallists at the Para Asian Games 2018, has been training under Coach Lalan Doshi at the Blind People's Association in Ahmedabad.

In para-taekwondo, India will be solely represented by 21-year-old Aruna Tanwar. The Haryana-based athlete, who will participate in the women's under 49kg K44 category, will be in action on September 2 from the round-of-16 rounds.

Aruna, currently ranked 30th in the K44 category, is a silver medallist at the Asian Para-Taekwondo Championship in Vietnam in 2018 as well as a bronze medallist at the World Para-Taekwondo Championship in Turkey in 2019. 

India will be represented by Sakina Khatun and Jai Deep in para powerlifting. Sakina, born in West Bengal, has been training at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) National Centre of Excellence in Bengaluru, while Haryana-based Jai Deep trains at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Rohtak.

Sakina, who will participate in the women's up to 50kg category became the only Indian woman Paralympian to ever win a Commonwealth Games medal when she claimed bronze in 2014 in Glasgow. She is also a 2018 Para Asian Games silver medallist.

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Having been diagnosed with polio as a child, Sakina began powerlifting training in 2010 with financial support from Dilip Majumdar and her current coach, Farman Basha.

Jai Deep, who will play in the men's up to 65kg category, is an assistant coach in the Sports Authority of India. The duo will be in action in Tokyo in their respective final rounds on August 27. All these athletes are part of TOPS.

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