Double India's medal tally in Paris Olympics, create support system for athletes: VP
Chennai, Sep 9 (Sports news): Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday called upon the nation to fix a target to double the medal tally in the 2024 Paris Olympics and also for building "all-encompassing support system" for the young and aspiring athletes.
India's stellar performance at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 had filled the hearts of the countrymen with pride and even more gratifying were the achievements of Paralympians who through their single-minded focus, grit and resilience brought home a record number of 19 medals propelling India into the top 25 at the para games, the Vice President said.
"This is a historic moment in India’s sporting journey and their exemplary performance has not only changed people's perception towards disability but has also kindled hopes of India emerging as a major sporting power," he said while virtually inaugurating the Tiruchirappalli Campus of SRM Institute of Science and Technology from the Raj Bhavan here.
"Let us set a target for ourselves to double the medal count in Paris Olympics in 2024 and lose no time in trying to achieve it," he said and urged all stakeholders, including the private sector, to come together to build an all-encompassing support system for the country's young and aspiring athletes.
"If an enabling ecosystem is created, I am sure, there are many more Avani Lekharas (who won a gold medal in rifle shooting in Tokyo 2020 Paralympics) and Neeraj Chopras (Javelin thrower who won gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics) waiting in the wings, whose talent can be nurtured successfully," he said. Educational institutions like SRM Institute whose student Nethra Kumanan, the first Indian sailor to qualify for the Olympics, should take a lead in this direction, the Vice President said.
On the challenge of employability, Venkaiah Naidu stressed the need to increase employability by focusing on the skills required for the Industry. "Every year, the country produces around 1.5 million engineers, but a survey suggests that only seven per cent of them are suitable for core engineering jobs," he pointed out. Hence, the emphasis must be on building a stronger academia-industry connection and ensuring that creative research results in the application of ground-breaking solutions.
The students on their part should equip themselves with emotional and social skills that will enable them to adapt to a rapidly changing world. "Develop a positive outlook towards life and seek to contribute to the larger cause of nation-building. Strive constantly to use your education for the good of others, society and the nation at large," he advised.
The services of the SRM group in collaborating with the Government on clinical trials with respect to COVID-19, and also in providing affordable and necessary healthcare facilities to those affected by the pandemic were commendable, he said. The Vice President appreciated the vision and leadership of the founder of the group, Dr T. R. Paarivendhar, and said the SRM group's focus on quality education is in tune with the Government's vision in laying the foundation for an Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit, founder Chancellor of SRM IST and Member of Parliament T R Paarivendhar, president, SRM IST, Niranjan, and chairman, SRM Groups, Ramapuram and Trichy Campuses Dr R Shivakumar were among those who attended the virtual event.
Also read: Sports Minister felicitates triumphant Paralympians, hopes for better show in 2024
News source: PTI
India's para-athletes soar high in best ever Paralympics performance
Tokyo, Sep 5 (Paralympic news): Inspirational, incredible and indomitable.
India's paralympians managed to be all these and much more in an epoch-making campaign at the Tokyo Games where an unparalleled 19 medals, including five gold, helped them sign off 24th in the overall tally -- the highest ever.
The tally also included eight silver and six bronze medals but most importantly, it was a performance during which history was scripted almost everyday with the contingent living up to the 'Spirit in Motion' motto of the Games.
Even on the last day of competitions, the medal rush did not stop and Krishna Nagar won a gold after Noida's District Magistrate Suhas Yathiraj signed off his brilliant run with a silver to complete a remarkable badminton show.
The duo's performance was like icing on the cake for the contingent which found new heroes, celebrated some established ones and brought para-sports firmly into spotlight in India.
In all, 54 came to Tokyo and 17 of them left with medals around their necks.
It was an improved performance no doubt but calling it just improvement would be an understatement given that India's overall Games haul was a mere 12 before this edition.
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.
"Phenomenal Rise of Indian Paralympians! A New Era has Begun," said sports minister Anurag Thakur.
There were several firsts to celebrate and the euphoria lasted the entire duration of the Games.
Two athletes, shooters Avani Lekhara and Singhraj Adana, finished on podium twice, creating their own legacies in their debut Paralympics.
The 19-year-old Lekhara became the first Indian woman to win a Games gold (10m air rifle) and later added a bronze in 50m rifle 3 positions to ensure that her name would now be part of every India-centric Paralympic quiz.
It was an inspiring show by the teenage who was paralysed waist down after being injured in a car accident in 2012.
And to think of it, all her father had hoped to achieve by taking her to shooting range was for Lekhara to get over the anger she had internalised after the accident which left her wheelchair-bound.
The 39-year-old Adana, on the other hand, was a late bloomer after taking a liking to the pistol while dropping his nephew to the range.
His right hand impaired, Adana knocked off a 10m air pistol bronze and 50m pistol silver to ensure that India had more than one double-medallist in the same Games for the first time ever.
There was the first medal in archery through Harvinder Singh (bronze), impaired after wrong medication for dengue, the first medal in table tennis by waist-down paralysed Bhavinben Patel (silver) and also a remarkable two gold medals in badminton through short of stature Nagar and a polio-stricken Pramod Bhagat. Another shooting star rose on horizon with Manish Narwal, all of 19, already a world champion and now a Paralympic champion as well.
Narwal's right hand is impaired and he originally wanted to be a footballer but fate had other plans for the Lionel Messi fan.
Not to mention the legends -- Devendra Jhajharia (javelin throw) and Mariyappan Thangavelu (high jump).
The two long-time flag-bearers of Indian para-sports, who won gold medals in 2016 Rio, and finished on podium again, this time with silver medals, cementing their place among all-time greats of Indian sports.
Bigger than their medals were the circumstances they beat like every athlete that they competed against.
So if Lekhara found her strength with a rifle in her hand after a car accident, Jhajharia, at 40 and with an arm lost to electrocution as a child, showed what longevity truly means in sport.
Nearly half (8) of India's haul this time came from the track-and-field arena with javelin thrower Sumit Antil shining the brightest with a gold en route which he shattered his own world record five times over.
Antil was pursuing a career in wrestling, as his family wanted, before a bike accident led to the amputation of his left leg, changing the course of his life forever.
At 18, Praveen Kumar became India's youngest medallist with a silver in high jump which came with an Asian record for the debutant, whose left leg is impaired.
Another shinning star was Sundar Singh Gurjar, who finished behind Jhajharia in javelin throw.
Gurjar lost his left hand in an accident and in his maiden Paralympics in Rio, he was disqualified after failing to register in time for his event.
He slipped into depression after the heartbreak and had thought of never touching the javelin again but was convinced into giving it another shot by his coaches.
This time, Gurjar was on the clock and also on the podium.
In fact, all of them, even the ones who didn't win a medal, are a personification of fortitude, having braved and beaten circumstances that were difficult at best and improbable at worst.
The performance was a perfect end to India's Tokyo sojourn after able-bodied athletes snared an unprecedented seven Olympic medals last month, including the first individual gold in 13 years. But the paralympians bested their tally by quite a distance.
In the process, they also handed out life lessons on what it means to fight the odds.
If a world scarred by COVID-19 needed inspiration to fight on, it was there in abundance in Tokyo.
The Games truly lived up to an old marketing slogan coined to promote the event -- "the Olympics is where heroes are made. The Paralympics is where heroes come."
Also read: Manoj Sarkar clinches bronze in the badminton men's singles SL3 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics
News source: PTI
How the International Paralympics Committee stripped off medals from two Paralympic athletes
(Paralympic news) Many Para athletes have won medals and brought glory for their countries in the Tokyo 2020 edition. The Olympics committee have made a few controversial decisions by stripping medals off two para athletes.
Indian para athlete discus thrower Vinod Kumar won the bronze medal in the men's F -51/52 discus throw breaking the Asian record in the process. The IPC reviewed the classification of Vinod Kumar as the F52 classification is for athletes with impaired muscle power, restricted range of movement, limb deficiency or leg length difference, with athletes competing in seated position. It also applies to cervical cord injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, and functional disorder.
"The panel was unable to allocate the athlete Vinod Kumar from NPC India with a sport class and the athlete was designated as Classification not Completed (CNC)," the organisers said in a statement. The athlete is therefore ineligible for the Men's F52 Discus medal event and his results in that competition are void," it added.
Also read: Manoj Sarkar clinches bronze in the badminton men's singles SL3 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics
The real question is why didn't the organizers check Kumar's eligibility before the event started. Kumar was evaluated on August 22 and cleared to compete in the F52 category at the time. According to the World Para Athletics database, Kumar’s classification status for the current year was already under review. Whether the athlete was aware of this, or if the Paralympics Committee of India (PCI) made him aware, is not clear.
Another case happened with Malaysian shot putter Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli. The F20 class Para Athlete won the gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, but right before the event started Zolkefli along with two others failed to report on time. Officials said that they were allowed to compete under protest.
A IPC spokesperson said "They were late, they may have had a logical reason for being late, and therefore we allowed them to compete and look at the facts of the matter afterward," After a meeting Zolkefli was disqualified for not having a justifiable reason for his lateness. An appeal from the Malaysian was also denied.
In the Zolkefli case, the IPC looks to have handled it the best way they could have if their version is the truth. While Vinod Kumar can count himself unlucky with the events that have unfolded. There hasn't been an official statement from the Indian athlete or the committee. Only after that can a conclusion be made.
Manoj Sarkar clinches bronze in the badminton men's singles SL3 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics
(Paralympic news) Para-Shuttler Manoj Sarkar has won the bronze medal in the badminton men's singles SL3 in Tokyo after defeating Daisuke Fujihara from japan in straight sets.
Sarkar started his campaign with a 2-1 loss to fellow countryman Pramod Bhagat. He came back with a 2-0 win over Uruguay's Oleksandr Chyrkov to qualify for the Semi-finals. In the Semi-finals Sarkar fell short against Daniel Bethell as he lost straight sets 21-8 and 21-10.
The first set was incredibly tight and went on for 27 minutes. The Indian had a 5 point lead at one point he ended up winning 22-20. In the 2nd set Sarkar dominated the court winning 21-13 to secure the Bronze medal. The win confirmed India's record 17th medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Also read: Manish Narwal and Singhraj win Gold and Silver medal at the Mixed 50m Pistol SH1 final at the Tokyo Paralympics
It's all in the family: Brazilian paddler Lethicia Rodrigues Lacerda relies on archer mom's advice at Tokyo Paralympics
Tokyo, Aug 26 (Paralympic news) Jane Karla Gogel and Lethicia Rodrigues Lacerda are one of the two parent-child duos competing at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and the younger one feels that the experience of participating alongside her mother is nothing short of magical.
What separates them from Greek father-and-son Lazaros Stefanidis and Leontios Stefanidis, who compete in athletics, is that this Brazilian mother-daughter pair competes in different sports.
Paddler Lacerda, 18, is delighted to receive some Paralympic tips from her mother, archer Jane Karla Gogel, who is also a former TT player.
Despite swapping her ping pong paddle for a bow and arrow, archer Gogel, 46, has been able to share some inside knowledge of her former sport with her table tennis-playing daughter.
Lacerda, making her Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020, and faced former European champion Aida Dahlen of Norway on Wednesday with the benefit of advice from her mother, who competed regularly against the Norwegian.
"We had many tough battles against each other," Gogel told the games information system when asked about Dahlen.
"By knowing some of her weaknesses I could share them with Lethicia." Despite the parental tips, Rodrigues Lacerda lost 3-0 to the world No.3 in the women's singles class 8 but that did not dampen her spirits.
Also read: Bhavina Patel defeats Megan Shackleton of Great Britain 3-1 to progress into the Round of 16
"It's very special to be with my mum here," she said.
"We are both able to participate and share our emotions. Everything is very magical." The 18-year-old will next face Huang Wenjuan of China.
She said her mother, who is competing at her fourth Paralympics and her second as a para archer, is her best friend and has been her biggest influence.
"Maybe in the future I can try another sport in the Paralympics," the teenager said of following in her mother's footsteps.
"I like everything, but table tennis the most. I want to try sitting volleyball one day." Gogel is hopeful the pair can compete together at future Paralympic Games.
"In my mind, I'm going to compete in archery until I'm very old, or until my arms cannot do it any more," she said.
News source: PTI
Eurosport India awarded rights to broadcast Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympic Games
(Paralympic news) The Paralympic Committee of India has awarded Eurosport India rights to show LIVE action, delayed broadcast and highlights for Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympic Games on Eurosport India and discovery+, events featuring Indian athletes and teams LIVE on Eurosport India.
Vijay Rajput: The Paralympic Committee of India and Eurosport India have a common vision of helping our para-athletes gain visibility amongst the passionate Indian sporting communities.
Mumbai, 11th August 2021: Eurosport India have been given the rights to broadcast the Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympic Games by the Paralympic Committee of India.
The Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympic Games, set to take place between 24 August and 5 September. Eurosport will broadcast a global multi-sport event for the first time in India and expand on a diverse range of sports already available to fans across its platforms.
The main focus will be on the local heroes, Eurosport India’s coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympic Games will start on 27 August with the men’s and women’s archery events at Yumenoshima Park Archery Field. The Eurosport feed will also be LIVE on the discovery+ app for the fans to stay up to speed with all the action from Tokyo.
Eurosport’s coverage of the Paralympics in India, which also includes the online platform of discovery+, will ensure fans are given access to the most inspiring local stories told by the best storytellers to unlock the power of sport and the Games.
Mr Gursharan Singh, Secretary General, Paralympic Committee of India said, “At the brink of a historic National Sporting Movement, our Indian Para Sportsmen are inspired and excited to win glory and pride for the country at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Such honouring moments must and would be shared and celebrated. Indians masses across the globe should be able to bask in the triumphant performance of our Paralympic Stars. Eurosport will be our official Media Broadcasting Partner to share the exciting minute to minute live telecast of the said biggest Para Sporting Event.”
Also read: Delhi High Court refuses to interfere with non-selection of Arjuna Awardee para shuttler Raj Kumar for Tokyo games
Eurosport India shall be the exclusive pay TV partner in the South Asian countries. The rights include showcase of LIVE sports, delayed telecast and highlights across key events in 22 sporting disciplines, treating the Indian sports fans with some scintillating action from the quadrennial sporting spectacle.
Speaking about the association Mr. Vijay Rajput, Senior Vice President – Affiliate sales and Product Distribution, Asia - India Sales & Distribution at Discovery Inc. and Head of Eurosport India, said, “This is a milestone event in the short life of Eurosport India. Eurosport is the Home of Olympics in Europe and our association with the Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympic Games will be the first step towards a similar journey in India.”
“While the Olympics may receive all the glory, and rightfully so this year with a scintillating performance from India, it’s now time to promote our incredible Paralympic athletes who have made the country proud time and again.
The Paralympic Committee of India and Eurosport India have a common vision of helping our athletes gain visibility amongst passionate Indian sporting communities and this association is a testimony of that. We wish the Indian Paralympic squad the very best for the upcoming Summer Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.” he added.
India will be fielding 54 Paralympic athletes participating across nine sporting disciplines which makes its the largest ever Indian contingent. Fans will be able to cheer every Indian hero throughout the Games, including world No.3 and world No.2 Sumit Antil and Sandeep Chaudhary in Javelin; Manish Narwal (10m air pistol), Singhraj (10m air pistol) and Avani Lekhara (10m air rifle, 50m air rifle) in shooting and flagbearer Mariyappan Thangavelu in High Jump.
Badminton will make its debut at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympic Games, which will feature as many as five shuttlers in the men’s category – Pramod Bhagat, Manoj Sarkar, Tarun Dhillon, Suhas Yathiraj and Krishna Nagar alongside the women’s doubles pairing of Parul Parmar, Palak Kohli.
Tokyo 2020: After pandemic duty, IAS officer cum shuttler Yathiraj gears up for Paralympics
New Delhi, Jul 16 (Olympics news) He has been a busy bureaucrat fighting the COVID-19 menace in the National Capital Region as Noida's District Magistrate but come during last week of August Suhas L Yathiraj will be representing India in the Para-Badminton event at the Tokyo Paralympics, starting August 24.
A look at Yathiraj's official twitter handle @dmgbnagar for the last 16 months have been dedicated on handling the COVID-19 virus and the young DM, who is an Asian Para Badminton gold and bronze medallist, will now be practising extra hours to bring glory to the country.
"Being the DM of Noida, it was a very challenging time during the Pandemic. But I never gave up on my training and devoted all my focus and time into it. I am very much confident to clinch a medal at Tokyo 2020," said Yathiraj, an IAS officer of UP cadre and former DM of Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad).
The bureaucrat along Manoj Sarkar on Friday qualified after the game's governing body BWF granted two bipartite quotas to India, making it a seven-member contingent at the Tokyo Games, beginning August 24.
Yathiraj has been granted the quota in men's singles SL4, while Sarkar has made the cut in men's singles SL3, and will be joining the team led by world no. 1 Pramod Bhagat.
The addition of the two para shuttlers also boosted India's medal prospects in the two men's singles categories.
India already has Bhagat in men's singles SL3 and Tarun Dhillon in men's singles SL4 events.
"It's wonderful to have strong presence at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. Indian para shuttlers are doing very well in international events including Asian Para Games and World Championships, and now this is the time to lead the show in the Paralympics," chief national coach Gaurav Khanna said in a media release.
Also read: Our shooters certainly among India's top prospects: NRAI president Raninder Singh
"It's great to have two shuttlers each in men's SL3 category and men's SL4 category which enhances our medal prospect. We wish to have the gold and silver in both the category." "A little bit disappointing though as I was expecting more shuttlers to qualify since they did well in the recent BWF events." Sarkar described it as a "dream" come true moment to qualify for the Paralympics especially when the sport was making its debut.
"There is a lot of expectations on me and I hope to live up to it in Tokyo. My target will be a podium finish at the Games and I will be out to win the gold," said the former world no. 1.
Delighted at the two bipartite slots, Paralympic Committee of India President Deepa Malik said: "We are very happy with the latest development. Our para shuttlers have been doing really well in the international events in the past few years.
"And inclusion of Suhas L. Yathiraj and Manoj Sarkar have increased our medal chances. I wish them the entire team good luck." The Team: Men's singles: Pramod Bhagat (SL3), Manoj Sarkar (SL3), Tarun Dhillon (SL4), Suhas L. Yathiraj (SL4), Krishna Nagar (SH6) Women’s doubles: Parul Parmar and Palak Kohli (SL3-SU5).
News source: PTI
Winning gold at Tokyo 2020 Paralympics will be special: Indian para badminton player Krishna Nagar
New Delhi, Jun 10 Top para shuttler Krishna Nagar is "proud" of his qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and is looking to make the opportunity count by claiming the gold medal at the August 24-September 5 event.
Nagar (SH 6 -- Short Stature) along with Pramod Bhagat (SL3 -- Standing Lower) and Tarun Dhillon (SL4 -- Standing Lower) have received official invitations from the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to participate at the Tokyo 2020 Para Games.
SL3 refers to minor standing or lower limb impairment and SL4 means severe lower limb impairment. While SH6 refers to short stature.
"It's a proud moment for me that I will be part of the Paralympic Games when para badminton is making its debut. And I will definitely try to make it memorable winning the gold. My sole focus is standing on top of the podium," Nagar told the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).
They secured their respective places for the Tokyo Paralympics by virtue of their present impressive BWF world rankings.
Nagar added, "With the COVID-119 pandemic bringing anxiety and crisis to the world, I hope to bring smiles and happy moments for the countrymen through a medal in Tokyo 2020. This will be also a motivation for many upcoming para-athletes." The 21-year-old from Rajasthan clinched two gold medals at the Dubai 2021 Para Badminton International in April.
Nagar also shared why the Paralympic gold is so important to him.
"I had settled for the bronze at Asian Para Games 2018 and Basel 2019 World Championship, so I don't want to miss the gold this time. To win the gold at Tokyo 2020 will be very special," said Nagar, who is currently training in Lucknow.
But he is aware that the road will not be easy at the Games with strong players like Jack Shephard of England, Hong Kong's Chun Mai Kai waiting in his way to the podium.
Meanwhile, Bhagat said he is highly motivated to do well at the Games now that he has officially qualified for the event.
As of now, five Indian players have received official invitations from the BWF for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Chief national coach Gaurav Khanna was confident that India will have three more players in men's singles SL3, SL4 and mixed doubles event through Bipartite rule. The final list is due to be released on July 16.
The women's doubles pair of Parul Parmar (SL3) and Palak Kohli (SU5) were the first Indian duo to receive the confirmation on their qualification.
"I am expecting a medal each from all the players going to Tokyo. Tarun, Pramod, Krishna are strong contenders for gold medals. Meanwhile, it's a proud moment for someone so young like Palak qualifying for the Games.
"Training is going on full swing. We are fortunate that now we have a dedicated Badminton Academy for the Para Badminton players, so even if there's a lockdown our players have a place to train in.
"The spirit in the team is also very high and we are working hard towards our goal. There is also a system in place for each player which will surely help them deliver a medal winning performance in Tokyo." New source PTI