Since its start in 1960, India has won 31 medals in 11 editions of the Paralympic Games, including nine gold, 12 silver, and 10 bronze.
At Tokyo 2020, more than half of these were unveiled. These 31 Paralympics India medals changed history in many ways, and are the people to be remembered for years.
1. Murlikant Petkar, 1972
Participating in the 1972 games in Heidelberg, Murlikant Petkar won a gold medal for swimming 50m freestyle, clocking the then-world record of 37.33 seconds. He lost his arm to a bullet wound in the Indo-Pak War, switching to swimming and making history. This was the first Paralympics India medal ever won.
2. Bhimrao Kesarkar, 1984
Winning the silver medal at the 1984 games, his javelin throw of 34.55 meters won him a place on the pedestal at one of India’s most successful games. He also competed in men’s 100m freestyle, however made it only fifth in the opening round.
3. Joginder Singh Bedi, 1984
Joginder Singh Bedi is one of India's most accomplished Paralympians, winning three medals for India. Joginder earned a medal in the men's shot put at the games hosted in Stoke Mandeville and New York. He won a silver medal and two bronze medals, with the best performance of 10.08 meters that year.
4. Devendra Jhajharia, 2004
Following their multiple wins in 1984, their next medal was won 20 years later in the 2004 games hosted in Athens. Devendra Jhajharia, a javelin thrower, broke that record by winning gold in the men's javelin throw event. Additionally, he ran a distance of 62.15 meters, setting another world record for the time, and receiving a Paralympics India medal.
5. Rajinder Singh Rahelu, 2004
In 2005, Rajinder was given the Arjuna Award for his performance in the Athens 2004 games. With a lift of 157.5kgs, the Indian powerlifter took bronze in the men's 56kg weight class for his Paralympics India medal. Moreover, he competed in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing and placed fifth.
6. Girish N Gowda, 2012
At the 2012 London Paralympics, high jumper Girish N Gowda earned India's silver medal that year. Girish lost the gold medal in the event after both he and his opponent recorded a best of 1.74 meters. Like Rajinder, Girish N Gowda also received the Arjuna Award, as well as the Padma Shri.
7. Mariyappan Thangavelu, 2016
Mariyappan Thangavelu won gold in the high jump, clearing 1.89 meters. He was awarded the Padma Shri and the Arjuna Awards and later received the Major Dyan Chand Khel Ratna, India's highest sports honor, and his Paralympics medal.
8. Varun Singh Bhati, 2016
Varun Singh Bhati accompanied Mariyappan Thangavelu on the pedestal in the high jump event at the Games. His performance of 1.86m earned him a bronze medal in the men's high jump F42. In 2018, Varun got the Arjuna Award.
9. Devendra Jhajharia, 2016
He received his second gold medal in Javelin's throw, after his win in the same sport in 2004. He broke the world record, throwing 63.97 meters this time. In 2017, the Indian Paralympian was awarded the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna along with his Paralympics India medal.
10. Deepa Malik, 2016
As the first woman from India to win an award in the Paralympics, Deepa received silver for her throw of 4.61m in the women's shot put. After being awarded multiple awards for her performance, she is now President of the Indian Paralympic Committee.
11. Bhavina Patel, 2020
2020 was a great year for the country, receiving over 10 different Paralympics India medals in the games. The first gold medal was from Bhavina Patel, who won a silver medal in women's singles table tennis. She finished second after losing to the world-famous Zhou Ying in the gold medal match.
12. Nishad Kumar, 2020
Nishad Kumar took silver in the men's T47 high jump with a best attempt of 2.06m, which matched his Asian record. He tied for the second position with Dallas Wise, who recorded a best leap of 2.06m as well. They were both awarded silver.
13. Avani Lekhara, 2020
Avani Lekhara became the first Indian woman to win a gold medal in her first Paralympics, setting a Paralympic record at 19 years old. Her score of 249.6 in the women's 10m air rifle shooting got her the medal. Moreover, she won bronze in the women's 50m rifle days after her first win.
14. Devendra Jhajharia, 2020
In Tokyo, record-breaker Devendra Jhajharia earned silver in the men's javelin throw, making this his third Paralympic medal. He set a new personal best of 64.35 meters, breaking his world and Paralympic record of 63.97 meters.
15. Sundar Singh Gurjar, 2020
In the same sport as Devendra, he won the bronze medal in the men's javelin throw category. In the final round, he threw 64.01 meters, making a season record. This added another Paralympics India medal for the year.
16. Yogesh Kathuniya, 2020
Yogesh Kathuniya of India earned his first Paralympics India medal, gold in the men's discus throw F56 class finals with a season's best of 44.58m.
17. Sumit Antil, 2020
Sumit Antil won gold in the men's javelin throw F64 category after breaking his world record three times. At 23, he set the bar high with a throw of 66.95 meters, breaking his previous world record of 62.88 meters. Sumit Antil set a new world record with a 68.08m throw on his second try. Sumit Antil's fifth effort in the final resulted in a new world record of 68.55m.
18. Singhraj Adhana, 2020
With bronze in the men's 10m air pistol class, Singhraj Adhana became India's second shooting medalist at the Paralympics. Singhraj Adhana finished third, winning the Paralympics India medal.
19. Mariyappan Thangavelu, 2020
Mariyappan Thangavelu won his second Paralympic silver, this time in the men's T42 high jump. Mariyappan Thangavelu took three efforts to pass the 1.83m and 1.86m markers after clearing the first two effortlessly. The defending Paralympic champion attempted the 1.88m for gold but was unable to clear it in three tries, earning him silver.
20. Sharad Kumar, 2020
Sharad Kumar, who won bronze in the men's high jump T42, joined Thangavelu on the podium. After clearing each of his first four marks, including the 1.83m, in his first leap, he won the gold. However, none of his three leaps was able to clear the 1.86m, and he was forced to settle for bronze.
21. Praveen Kumar, 2020
At the Tokyo Paralympics, Praveen Kumar won silver in the men's T64 high jump with a leap of 2.07m. He broke his Asian mark of 2.05m, which he established in the 2021 Paralympics Athletics in Dubai.
22. Harvinder Singh, 2020
Winning India’s first medal in archery, Harvinder Singh received bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. In the semi-finals, the Indian archer was beaten by eventual gold medalist Kevin Mather of the United States, but in the bronze medal match, he overcame South Korean Kim Min Su 6-5, making history.
23. Manish Narwal, 2020
Manish Narwal of India won the men's 50m pistol SH1 shooting gold medal in Tokyo with a Paralympic record-breaking score. He qualified for the final in seventh position in qualifying, but he went all out in the gold round, shooting 218.2, a Para Games record.
24. Singhraj Adhana, 2020
Manish Narwal's colleague Singhraj Adhana won silver in the men's 50m pistol SH1 event, giving India a 1-2 finish. Previously winning bronze in the men's 10m air pistol SH1 event in Tokyo, he finished fourth in qualifying and then finished second to Narwal with a score of 216.7 in the final.
25. Parmod Bhagat, 2020
Pramod Bhagat won the first Paralympic champion in badminton's men's singles SL3 category. He finished first in Group A and advanced to the semi-finals, where he defeated Daisuke Fujihara of Japan 21-11, 21-16 to win the gold medal match. In the final, the Indian shuttler defeated Daniel Bethell of the United Kingdom 21-14, 21-17 to take the first spot on the podium.
26. Manoj Sarkar, 2020
Manoj Sarkar took bronze in the men's singles SL3 category. He placed second in Group A, qualifying for the semi-finals, but eventually lost. Manoj Sarkar, on the other hand, defeated Japan's Daisuke Fujihara in the bronze medal match, 22-20, 21-13.
27. Suhas Yathiraj, 2020
At the Tokyo Paralympics, Suhas Yathiraj won silver in men's singles SL4, giving India its third badminton medal. After placing second in Group A behind defending world champion Lucas Mazur, he qualified for the semi-finals.
Finally, he conquered Indonesian Fredy Setiawan. Suhas Yathiraj faced Lucas Mazur in the final for the second time, putting up a gallant fight against him, but ultimately lost.
28. Krishna Nagar, 2020
From start to finish, Krishna Nagar dominated the competition. He breezed through the stage, defeating two other players in consecutive games. She beat Krysten Coombs for the second time in the semi-finals. The final against Chu Man Kai of Hong Kong was a tad more difficult, but the Indian prevailed 21-17, 16-21, 21-17 to win gold.
These 31 medals and 27 athletes have changed Indian sporting history, and prove as an inspiration for us all. The Paralympics India medals won by them will always be remembered and celebrated. Do comment down your favorite Indian athlete.
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