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Indian para-athletes eye repeat of Rio performance in London World Championship

India’s para-athletes, who won two gold, silver and bronze in the Rio Paralympics in 2016 which was their best-ever performance, will be eyeing a repeat in the upcoming London World Championship

other sports Updated: Jul 10, 2017 17:14 IST
Saurabh Duggal
Saurabh Duggal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
India para-athletes,Rio Paralympics 2016,London World Championship
India's Mariyappan Thangavelu and Bhati Varun Singh won gold and bronze medals in the 2016 Rio Paralympics game as they put in their best-ever performance in this event.(AFP)

After the remarkable show of Indian para-athletes at the Rio Paralympics last year, where the country posted its best-ever performance by winning two gold, silver and bronze, Mariyappan Thangavelu, Deepa Malik and Varun Singh Bhati will return to action at the World Championship in London from July 14-23.

“After returning from Rio, we spend quite some time attending felicitation functions, and family commitments preoccupied us as we couldn’t give time to our families for almost two years before Rio,” said Bhati, who won bronze in high jump in the T-42 category --- a disability classification with single ‘above the knee’ amputation.

I started training for the World Championship two months back and have gained momentum and hope to repeat the Rio show in London,” he added.

Bhati, who leapt to 1.86m in Rio, cleared 1.78m during trials for the world meet. “I was better prepared for Rio as I was training for almost two years. As far as a medal in the World Championship is concerned, 1.80m or above can place you on the podium. I am touching 1.80m-plus in training and if all is well, I will bring another medal for the country,” said the 21-year-old.

Wheelchair-bound athlete Deepa Malik, who became the country’s first woman to win a medal at the Games, stayed away from training for a while after Rio because of family commitments.

“Last year, my father was diagnosed with cancer, but he is out of danger now. So, I couldn’t devote much time to training,” said Deepa, who won silver in shot put at Rio.

“I am taking the World Championship as a build-up to next year’s Asian Games. I am also planning to focus on javelin throw and am working on speed, flexibility and shedding weight.”

Deepa won a medal in Rio with a throw of 4.61m, and during trials for London, she threw 4.10m. “To be honest, I’m not eyeing a medal in the world meet. It is a comeback event to the international arena.”

Rio gold medallist in javelin Devendra Jhajharia will miss the world meet as he failed to reach the qualifying mark.

Twelve athletes in top 5

As per the current world ranking, 12 Indian athletes are in top five. Amit Saroha, Rohit Kumar and Sundar Singh Gurjar are ranked No.2 in the world in men’s club throw F51, men’s disucs in F46 category and men’s javelin F46 category respectively

India’s best performance at the Worlds was in 2015 where Jhajharia and Saroha clinched silver each.

“We are expecting four-six medals in London. Apart from the 12 athletes in top five, another 10 in the 30-member contingent are in the top-10 bracket, so it speaks of our strength. I am confident like in Rio we will have our best performance at the Worlds,” said Dhyan Chand awardee and para-Olympian Girraj Singh, chairman, athletics, Paralympics Committee of India.

First Published: Jul 10, 2017 17:13 IST