New Delhi [India], August 22 (ANI): As many as 54 athletes from India will be competing in 9 sports disciplines including Archery, Athletics (Track and Field), Badminton, Swimming, Weightlifting among others.
This is the biggest-ever contingent India has sent to any Paralympics. All 54 athletes are part of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) scheme, as per the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
Bhavina Patel and Sonalben Patel, both belonging to the State of Gujarat, are looking at putting their best foot forward at the Paralympic Games. The duo is participating in the Para Table Tennis Women's singles Wheelchair Class 4 category and the Women's singles Wheelchair Class 3 category respectively. They are pairing up for the Women's Doubles event as well.
Bhavina and Sonalben start their qualification rounds in Tokyo on an opening day, i.e, August 25. The qualifying rounds are scheduled for August 25, 26, and 27, while the semi-final and the final are scheduled for August 28 and 29 respectively.
The duo has been training under Coach Lalan Doshi at the Blind People's Association in Ahmedabad. While Bhavina is ranked 8 in the World currently in her category, Sonalben is ranked 19th. Both have been recipients of the Sardar Patel Award and the Eklavya Awards and have been a medallist at the Asian Games.
Aruna Tanwar, the 21-year-old will be the sole Para-Taekwondo representative at the Paralympic Games from India. Haryana-based Aruna will participate in the Women's under 49kg K44 category. She will be in action on September 2 from the round-of-16 rounds.
In Para Powerlifting, India is sending two of the best in Jai Deep and Sakina Khatun. While Sakina, born in West Bengal, has been training at the SAI National Center of Excellence in Bangalore, Haryana-based Jai Deep has been training at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Rohtak. (ANI)