Unprecedented Glory: India’s Spectacular Triumph at the 4th Asian Para Games 2023

Asian Para Games 2023
File photo of the Hangzhou Asian Para Games 2023 (Source: Rohan Chowdhury)

In a historic display of sporting prowess, India concluded its most remarkable campaign at the 4th Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, bagging an astonishing total of 111 medals. The nation’s para-athletes showcased unparalleled grit, securing their position among the top contenders on the medals table.

The final tally featured an impressive collection of 29 gold, 31 silver, and 51 bronze medals, propelling India to a commendable fifth place in the table, behind powerhouses China, Iran, Japan, and South Korea. This achievement followed closely on the heels of India’s stellar performance at the 19th Asian Games, where they amassed 107 medals, marking a significant milestone in the country’s sporting history.

The backbone of India’s success lies in exceptional performances across various disciplines. The track-and-field contingent emerged as the standout contributors, bagging a staggering 55 medals over the six days of intense competition. Para badminton also played a pivotal role, securing 21 medals, including four golds. Chess enthusiasts witnessed Indian players clinching eight medals, while archery and shooting contributed seven and six medals.

One of the shining stars of the Games was Sheetal Devi, an armless archer hailing from Jammu and Kashmir. Overcoming the challenges posed by Phocomelia, a rare congenital disorder, Sheetal’s resilience earned her three medals, two of which were gold. Reflecting on her journey, she said, “Initially, I could not even lift the bow properly. But it became easier after practising for a couple of months.”

Sumit Antil, the javelin gold medallist from the Tokyo Paralympics, continued to make history by throwing 73.29m, the farthest ever in para-athletics across all categories. Speaking about the expectations, Sumit said, “Actually, there wasn’t too much pressure for winning the gold, but there was quite a lot of pressure for the world record because wherever I compete now, that’s what everyone expects.”

The final day brought more as India secured its first Para Asiad medal in rowing, a bronze in PR3 Mixed Double Sculls – PR3 Mix2x. Para Taekwondo and Para Canoeing also saw India clinch their inaugural medals. Notably, Indian athletes dominated in several events, achieving podium clean sweeps in Club Throw F51, Javelin Throw F46, Rapid Chess, and Discus Throw F54/55/56.

These remarkable feats were supplemented by six world records, 13 Asian records, and 15 Asian Para Games records by Indian athletes during the event.

The chess contingent, led by Darpan Inani, stole the spotlight on the final day, securing individual and team gold. In para-athletics, Dilip Mahadu Gavit and Neeraj Yadav clinched gold in their respective events. Avani Lekhara, a Tokyo Paralympics gold medallist, showcased her prowess with gold in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1 event.

The journey began with Prachi Yadav winning the first medal, a silver, which she later upgraded to gold. In para-badminton, stalwarts such as Pramod Bhagat, Suhas Yathiraj, Thulasimathi Murugesan, and Nitesh Kumar and Tarun showcased their excellence by winning gold medals.

The 4th Asian Para Games in 2023 will remain indelible in the annals of India’s sports history as a chapter of unparalleled triumphs – breaking records and showcasing the indomitable spirit of the country’s para-athletes.

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