India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging 75 great sporting achievements by Indian athletes. Sportstar will present one iconic sporting achievement each day, leading up to August 15, 2022.

2021: India wins 19 medals at Tokyo Paralympics

India's paralympians enjoyed an epic campaign at the Tokyo Games where an unparalleled 19 medals helped them sign off 24th in the overall tally — the highest ever.

The tally included five gold, eight silver and six bronze medals.

The performance brought para-sports firmly into spotlight in India. In all, 54 came to Tokyo and 17 of them left with medals around their necks. India's overall Games haul was a mere 12 before the Tokyo edition.

READ: 19 medals in Paralympics offer India a chance to dream and act

To put things in perspective, at the 2016 Rio Games, India had 19 athletes across five disciplines with four returning with medals in the end.

Cash awards running into crores, innumerable felicitations, dozens of invites from celebrities wanting a share of the joy — the 19 medallists became the toast of the nation.

Paralympic Committee of India president Deepa Malik hailed the achievement of the athletes as historic and a game changer.

“This success will go a long way. It is like India has arrived on the big stage. The boost that Para sport and Para athletes will now receive will be phenomenal.

“The response and love that our countrymen showered on the medal winners is mind boggling and now on it will be easier for them to come into the mainstream. India simply cherished each and every achievement from our Para athletes. The social medial was abuzz and so was the print and television media. I’m confident that the momentum that we have gained for the movement will go a long way.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted the Para athletes, their support staff and coaches.

From Avani Lekhara's twin medals in shooting to  Pramod Bhagat  becoming the first ever para shuttler to win gold, here is a look at the Indian medallists at Tokyo Paralympics.

Avani Lekhara

Avani Lekhara  won gold in the 10m air rifle standing SH1 event to become the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic gold medal. She then won bronze in the women's 50m rifle 3 positions SH1 event with a score of 445.9 to become the first Indian woman to win two medals at the Paralympics. China's Zhang Cuiping won gold with a Paralympic Record score of 457.9, while Germany's Natascha Hiltrop took silver with a score of 457.1.

Manish Narwal

Manish Narwal won gold in the mixed 50m pistol SH1 event. His compatriot Singhraj Adhana and Sergey Malyshev of the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) took silver and bronze respectively. Narwal’s score of 218.2 was a new Paralympic record.

Bhavinaben Patel

Bhavinaben Patel won the silver medal in the women's singles Class 4 table tennis event losing the final 0-3 to China's Zhou Ying. However, Patel became India's first-ever paddler to win a medal at the Paralympics and also opened India's account at Tokyo Games.

Nishad Kumar

Nishad Kumar clinched the silver medal in men's high jump T47. The 21-year-old cleared 2.06m on his second attempt to equal his Asian record. However, he failed in all three attempts at 2.09m. Kumar shared the medal with USA's Dallas Wise. Wise's compatriot Roderick Townsend won gold, breaking his world record with 2.15m.

Yogesh Kathuniya

Discus thrower Yogesh Kathuniya clinched the silver medal in the men's discus throw final (F56). Batista dos Santos from Brazil took gold, and L. Diaz Aldana from Cuba bagged silver. Kathuniya registered his season-best of 44.38m in his sixth and final attempt.

Devendra Jhajharia  and Sundar Singh Gurjar

India's Devendra Jhajharia and Sundar Singh Gurjar won silver and bronze in javelin throw F46 event. D. Priyantha of Sri Lanka won gold with a world record throw of 67.79. Jhajharia sealed the podium finish with a new personal best of 64.35m, while two-time reigning world champion Gurjar won bronze with a throw of 64.01m. Jhajharia became the second Indian ever to win three medals at the Paralympics after Joginder Singh Bedi.

Mariyappan Thangavelu

Mariyappan Thangavelu won silver in the men's high jump- T63 final. USA's Sam Grewe took the gold after clearing a height of 1.88m in his final attempt, while Mariyappan’s compatriot Sharad Kumar won bronze. This was Mariyappan's second Paralympics medal after winning gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Sharad Kumar

Sharad Kumar, 29, won bronze in the T-42 high jump event with an effort of 1.83m. He had competed despite suffering a knee injury while training before his event. He later revealed he was on the verge of pulling out of the competition. The Patna-born athlete, who resides in Delhi, had his left leg paralysed after he was administered a spurious polio vaccine as a toddler.

Praveen Kumar

Praveen Kumar won silver in the men's high jump T64 event with a new Asian record jump of 2.07m. Britain's Jonathan Broom-Edwards won gold with 2.10m, and Poland's Maciej Lepiato won bronze with 2.04m.

Sumit Antil

Sumit Antil won gold in the men's javelin F64/44 final with a world record throw of 68.55m. Australia's Michal Burian won silver with a throw of 66.29m while Sri Lanka's Dulan Kodithuwakku won bronze with 65.61m. Sumit’s left leg was crushed at the age of 16 when during a routine trip back home from his tuition class, a tractor collided with his bike.

Singhraj Adhana

Para shooter Singhraj Adana brought India’s eighth medal at the Paralympics by clinching bronze in the P1 Men’s 10m Air Pistol SH1 final with a score of 216.8. Later on, he also grabbed a silver in the mixed 50m pistol SH1 event where compatriot Manish Narwal took the gold.

Harvinder Singh

Harvinder Singh, 31, whose legs stopped functioning properly due to adverse effects of an injection during his childhood, won a historic archery bronze in the men's individual recurve event. Harvinder beat South Korea's Kim Min Su 6-5 in a thrilling bronze medal playoff where Harvinder shot a 10 to beat Kim's 8 in the shoot-off after both archers finished at 5-5 at the end of five sets.

Pramod Bhagat

Para shuttler Pramod Bhagat, world number one, won the gold medal in the men's singles SL3 event after beating Daniel Bethell 21-14, 21-17 in the final. Bhagat contracted polio at the age of four which resulted in limited lower limb function.

Manoj Sarkar

Manoj Sarkar won the bronze medal in the men's singles SL3 event after beating Daisuke Fujihara 22-20, 21-13 in the playoff.

Krishna Nagar

Krishna Nagar won gold medal in the men's singles final of the SH6 event after beating Hong Kong's Chu Man Kai 21-17, 16-21, 21-17 in the final. Nagar won all his matches in the tournament and dropped just one game.

Suhas Yathiraj

Suhas Yathiraj won the silver medal after losing to Lucas Mazur of France in the badminton men's singles SL4 gold medal match. The unseeded Indian lost to the number one Frenchman 21-15, 17-21, 15 -21 in a match that lasted 62 minutes.

(Compilation based on the articles from The Hindu and Sportstar )