Around 1,600 athletes from 28 States will compete in the 19th Para National athletics championship, which commences at the Chamundi Vihar Stadium at Mysuru on March 26.

The event, approved by the International Paralympic Committee, will serve as a qualification event for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, Deepa Malik, Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) President said at a press conference here on Saturday.

The PCI, meanwhile, is confident that the Sports Ministry will soon revoke the suspension imposed on the body last year. Regardless of the status of the PCI, it will not stop Indian athletes from competing in the Paralympics, PCI Secretary General Gursharan Singh stated.

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“The PCI is recognised by the IPC, which is the only criteria for Paralympics qualification. So an Indian para-athlete who qualifies for the Paralympics will compete under the Indian flag. The only disadvantage of being suspended by the Sports Ministry is that the PCI is not entitled to funds from the Ministry,” Gursharan explained.

The PCI is also arranging for para-athletes to compete in various international competitions to achieve the Paralympics qualification mark, Gursharan said.

The Mysuru championship, consisting of track and field events, will witness top prospects in action like T. Mariyappan (2016 Paralympics high jump gold medallist), Varun Singh Bhati (2016 Paralympics high jump bronze) and Sundar Singh Gurjar (2019 World Para Championship javelin gold).