World Para C'ships: Sachin sets Asian record as India record best-ever tally - Hindustan Times
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World Para C'ships: Sachin sets Asian record as India record best-ever tally

May 22, 2024 10:26 PM IST

Sachin Khilari's effort of 16.30m in the F46 shot put event took India's medal count beyond their previous best mark of 10, achieved in Paris last year

India recorded their best-ever haul at the Para World Athletics Championships in Kobe on Wednesday, thanks to a gold medal-winning effort from defending champion Sachin Sarjerao Khilari in the F46 shot put event. Khilari's medal is the fifth gold for India at the ongoing competition, and came via an Asian record effort of 16.30m. Khilari bettered his own Asian record of 16.21m, set in Paris last year.

India's Sachin Sarjerao Khilari celebrates after winning the Men's Shot Put F46 Final(REUTERS)
India's Sachin Sarjerao Khilari celebrates after winning the Men's Shot Put F46 Final(REUTERS)

With three days to go in the championships, India now have 12 medals (5 gold, 4 silver, 3 bronze) and are placed behind table toppers China who have won 48 medals (18 gold, 16 silver, 14 bronze) and Brazil (17 gold, 8 silver, 5 bronze). India's previous best tally in the competition came at the 2023 iteration in Paris where the team bagged 10 medals (3 gold, 4 silver, 3 bronze) to finish on the 19th spot.

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Starting with a throw of 14.73m, Khilari followed it with 15.69m, X, 15.93m, 15.35m, and 16.30m to take the top spot. Canada's Greg Stewart was next with a last-ditch effort of 16.14, his season's best throw. Croatia's Luka Bakovic took the bronze with a personal best throw of 16.04m. Compatriot Mohammed Yasser finished eighth (14.62) while Rohit Kumar fouled in all his first three attempts to crash out early.

Hailing from Karagani village in Maharashtra's Sangli district, the 34-year-old Khilari suffered a mishap during his school days leading to disability in his left hand. He lost his muscles in the elbow due to gangrene and despite multiple surgeries, his arm never recovered.

The F46 category in para athletics events is for those with moderately affected movement in one or both arms or the absence of limbs. These athletes have to transmit power from hips and legs into the throw.

The Hangzhou Asian Games gold-medallist thrower told PTI that he was confident of taking the top podium spot. "I was expecting the gold here and I am happy. I have also qualified for the Paris Paralympics and hope to win gold there as well," Khilari said.

India's other medal of the day came in the men's F51 club throw where Dharambir took the bronze with an effort of 33.61m. Dharambir, a Hangzhou Asian Games silver medallist, bettered his own Asian record in the process, going past the 31.09m mark he achieved in 2022 at the Fazza International Para Athletics Championships in Dubai.

The gold was won by Serbia's Zeljko Dimitrijevic who recorded a championship record throw of 34.20m on his fifth attempt. The previous record of 33.82m was also held by Dimitrijevic — he had achieved the feat in Dubai in 2019. Mexico's Maria Santana Hernandez won the silver with a season's best throw of 33.62m. Dharambir's bronze-winning throw of 33.61m was 0.01cm shy of Hernandez's mark but was enough to rewrite the continental mark. His series read 21.63, 26.97, 21.43, 33.15, 33.61, and 33.21. Compatriot Pranav Soorma finished fourth with an effort of 33.10m.

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