India signed off its campaign at the World Para Athletics Championship with its biggest ever haul — nine medals - finishing at the 24th position in the nine-day competition in Dubai.
Until this edition, London 2017 had been India’s best-ever show where the para athletes finished with five medals (one gold) at the joint 34th place.
Here, India won two gold, two silver and five bronze besides a few fourth-place finishes, securing 13 qualifying spots for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
China topped the medals tally with 59 medals, including 25 gold. Brazil (39) and Great Britain (28) followed China. USA ended fourth with 34 medals. Russia, participating in the championships for the first time since the 2016 doping ban, was sixth with 41 medals.
Asian Para Games 2018 champion javelin thrower Sandeep Chaudhary stood out among the Indian performers by setting a new world record (F44) on the way to clinching gold with a personal best of 65.80m in men’s javelin F64 category.
In the same event, India had a one-two podium finish with Sumit Antil taking the silver (62.88m) and a world record in his own category (F64).
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Sundar Singh Gurjar defended his Worlds title in men’s javelin F46 with a season’s best distance of 61.22 metres.
Seasoned high jumper Sharad Kumar claimed the other silver medal for India, clearing the bar at a season best 1.83 metres in men’s high jump T63 finals.
Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) interim president Gursharan Singh expressed satisfaction over the team’s show.
“The players have lived up to our expectations. Besides the nine medals, the players also produced several personal and season’s best performances. There were also a few podium misses," he said.
“I hope all the players can produce even better show at Tokyo 2020. I thank all of those who supported and contributed to the Paralympic Movement in India reach such a height.”
The suspension on the PCI, he said, is unfortunate but that hasn’t affected the morale of the athletes and “they have proved that we are on the right track“.
“We hope that the suspension on PCI is lifted as per the best interests of Indian parasport and its athletes.
“It’s critical time for para-athletes in view of the Tokyo 2020 Games. Although we are very happy to have the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs’ and Sports Authority of India’s support for the Paralympic Movement.”
Singh was also hopeful that things will only get better from here on for PCI and Paralympic Movement in India, adding that NPC India is hopeful it can bid for major championships like World and Asian Championships, and the Asian Youth Para Games in future.
The bronze medallists for India were: Mariyappan Thangavelu (men’s high jump T63), Yogesh Kathuniya (men’s discus throw F56), Nishad Kumar (men’s high jump T47), Ajeet Singh (men’s Javelin F46) and Vinay Kumar Lal (men’s 400m T44)
Ekyta Bhyan (women’s club F51), Vinod Kumar (men’s discus throw F52) and Praveen Kumar (men’s high jump T64) and Rinku (men’s javelin F46) missed out on medals but secured Tokyo 2020 spots.