There are some good news stories coming out of the Indian Paralympics. Avani Lekhara, Deepa Malik, Sakina Khatun, and Mariyappan Thangavelu all won medals. What’s more, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also congratulating every medalist from the para games. But his tweets don’t feature him congratulating them, but pictures of him shaking hands with para-athletes.
Avani Lekhara’s gold medal
Avani Lekhara has become the first Indian woman to march with the Tricolour at a Paralympics. She was the flagbearer at the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Paralympics. She is the youngest Indian woman to march with the Tricolour at a Paralympics. She has been supported by GoSports Foundation since 2017.
Avani Lekhara, a 20-year-old para shooter, won gold at the Paralympics for the first time in history. She equalled the world record in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle during the Tokyo Games. She was among the 107 Padma Shri and 12 Khel Ratna award recipients at the National Sports Awards in 2021.
Deepa Malik’s bronze medal
A remarkable woman has become an Indian Paralympian. Deepa Malik is the first woman from India to win a medal at the Paralympics. She won a Silver Award in the shotput F-53 competition, throwing 4.61 m. In Rio de Janeiro, she stunned sports fans in Central America. It was her first major success as an athlete.
Apart from winning a bronze medal in the javelin event, Deepa Malik has many achievements. She was featured on the popular show Kaun Banega Crorepati to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child. She holds an official IPC Asian record in the javelin F-53 category and has participated in several rallies for the cause. Deepa Malik has a passion for sports and she also has a keen interest in motor racing. She was the first woman in the world to drive across nine high-altitude passes in nine days.
Sakina Khatun’s silver medal
Despite her physical limitations, Sakina Khatun has overcome many challenges to win a silver medal in the India Paralympics. She had to battle with the polio virus since she was a young child and endured 4 surgeries. However, after her recovery, doctors recommended that she take up swimming. She then developed an interest in other sports, and soon she was a powerlifting enthusiast. In 2010, she completed her 12th grade and began her sporting career.
In powerlifting, Sakina lifted 90kg in her first attempt, while Lidiia Soloviova of Ukraine lifted 104 kg. In the second round, she failed to lift ninety kilograms and finished fifth. In the men’s 65kg competition, Jaideep Kumar failed on his three attempts. Despite her impressive performance, the India team still has room for improvement.
Mariyappan Thangavelu’s bronze medal
The first medal of his life, Mariyappan Thangavelu cleared the 1.73m mark in the high jump. He narrowly missed out on the gold medal to USA’s Sam Grewe, who cleared the 1.88m mark with his first attempt. The second medal went to Singhraj Adhana, who won bronze in the men’s 10m air pistol event SH1. The other three competitors in the event, Varun Singh Bhati and Pranav Kumar, cleared the 1.73m mark, but failed to cross the 1.86m mark.
The family’s financial difficulties were immense, but Mariyappan’s perseverance paid off. He was five when his right leg was amputated below the knee in a road accident, and his parents didn’t have the money to pay for a prosthesis. With his prize money, he bought a paddy field for his mother and ran the household. Now, in 2017, he needed a stable job to help support his family. So, he appealed to the state government for help.
Deepa Bhati’s personal best mark
The paraplegic athlete is the oldest member of the Indian contingent in Rio de Janeiro, where she won a silver medal in the women’s shot put – F53 event. She threw a personal best mark of 4.61 metres in her final attempt to finish second behind Bahrain’s Fatema Nedham. Dimitra Korokida, meanwhile, won bronze with a throw of 4.28 meters. The men’s high jump team included Varun Singh Bhati and Mariyappan Thangavelu. Varun Singh Bhati won bronze in the event.
Mariyappan Thangavelu, meanwhile, won gold in the men’s T42 high jump event. She cleared the 1.86m mark in her tenth attempt. Thangavelu, meanwhile, beat Poland’s Lukasz Mamczara to the gold medal. The medal was the third for an Indian in the Paralympics after Murlikant Petkar in 1972 and Javelin thrower Abhinav Bindra in 2004.
Deepa Malik’s throw in women’s 10m air rifle
The Indian athlete has won three medals at the Rio Paralympics, including a gold medal in the women’s 10m air rifle. Her throw in the final equalled the world record and she also set a new Paralympic record. She has a remarkable story and has become a role model for physically challenged athletes. Her success at the Paralympics has made her a national hero.
The 19-year-old shooter from Jaipur has become the first Indian woman to win a gold medal in the women’s 10m air rifle SH1 event. The feat was an extraordinary achievement for an Indian athlete. Deepa Malik, who is the President of the Paralympic Committee of India, was the runner-up. Bhavina Patel, who also won a silver medal, is another Indian athlete to make history.