Paralympics: India have won 22 medals

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Unlike the Summer Olympics, where India’s success is largely dominated by the all-conquering Indian hockey team in the early days, the Paralympics has seen individual athletes take up the role to bring glory to the country.

Having competed in 11 editions of the Paralympic Games since its introduction in 1960, India have won 20 medals, including six gold, eight silver and six bronze.

Here are all the Indians who have won a medal at the Paralympics

Murlikant Petkar, gold medal, Swimming, men’s 50m freestyle 3, Heidelberg 1972

A veteran of the 1965 Indo-Pak War, Murlikant Petkar is the first Paralympic medallist of India.

Murlikant Petkar won a gold medal at the 1972 Heidelberg Games in the men’s 50m freestyle 3 event. The Indian Para swimmer clocked a then-world record of 37.33 seconds to win the top prize.

A jawan in the Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) in the Indian Army, Murlikant Petkar was a boxer who later switched to swimming after he lost an arm to a bullet injury.

He was honoured with the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award, in 2018.

Bhimrao Kesarkar, silver medal, men’s javelin throw L6, Stoke Mandeville & New York 1984

The 1984 Paralympics, co-hosted by Stoke Mandeville, United Kingdom and New York, USA, was one of India’s most successful Paralympics.

Bhimrao Kesarkar won a silver medal in the men’s javelin throw L6 with a throw of 34.55 metres. The Indian athlete also competed in the men’s 100m freestyle L6 event but couldn’t go beyond the opening round, finishing fifth in his heat.

Joginder Singh Bedi, silver medal, men’s shot put L6, Stoke Mandeville & New York 1984

With three medals, Joginder Singh Bedi is India’s most decorated Paralympian.

At the 1984 Paralympics at Stoke Mandeville & New York 1984, Joginder won a silver medal in the men’s shot put L6. The Indian managed an effort of 10.08 metres.

Joginder Singh Bedi, bronze medal, men’s javelin throw L6, Stoke Mandeville/ New York 1984

Joginder Singh Bedi won his second Paralympic medal at Stoke Mandeville & New York 1984 in the men’s javelin throw L6 event. He won the bronze, with a throw of 34.18m, in the same event in which Bhimrao Kesarkar won the silver.

Joginder Singh Bedi, men’s discus throw L6, Stoke Mandeville & New York 1984

At the 1984 Paralympics, Joginder Singh Bedi also won a bronze medal in the men’s discus throw L6 event with a throw of 28.16 metres.

Devendra Jhajharia, gold medal, men’s javelin throw F44/46, Athens 2004

Though India competed at every Paralympic Games since 1984, they had to wait till the 2004 Paralympics in Athens for the next medallist.

It was javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia who broke the Indian drought with a gold medal in the men’s javelin throw F44/46 event. Devendra managed a distance of 62.15 metres, which also set the then-world record in the event.

Devendra Jhajharia was honoured with the Padma Shri in 2012.

Rajinder Singh Rahelu, bronze medal, men’s powerlifting 56kg, Athens 2004

Rajinder Singh Rahelu was India’s other success story from Athens 2004. The Indian powerlifter won a bronze medal in the men’s 56kg weight class by lifting 157.5kgs. Rajinder tried again at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, where he finished fifth.

Rajinder was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2005.

Girish N Gowda, silver medal, men’s high jump F42, London 2012

High jumper Girish N Gowda won India’s only medal, a silver, at the 2012 London Paralympics.

Competing in the men’s high jump F42 event, Girish lost the gold medal on countback after both he and Iliesa Delana of Fiji managed a best of 1.74 metres.

Girish N Gowda received the Padma Shri in 2013 and the Arjuna Award a year later.

Mariyappan Thangavelu, gold medal, men’s high jump F42, Rio 2016

Tamil Nadu’s Mariyappan Thangavelu won a gold medal in the men’s high jump F42 event at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. He jumped 1.89 metres.

Mariyappan was honoured with the Padma Shri and the Arjuna Award on his return. He received the Major Dyan Chand Khel Ratna, the highest sporting honour in India, last year.

Varun Singh Bhati, bronze medal, men’s high jump F42, Rio 2016

The high jump competition at the 2016 Rio Para Games was special for India as Varun Singh Bhati joined Mariyappan Thangavelu on the podium. He won the bronze medal in the men’s high jump F42, his effort measuring 1.86m. Varun received the Arjuna award in 2018.

Devendra Jhajharia, gold medal, men’s javelin throw F46, Rio 2016

Devendra Jhajharia, who was forced to amputate his left hand after coming in contact with a live wire as an eight-year-old, bettered his world mark to win his second gold medal at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. This time he threw 63.97m.

The Indian Paralympian received the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna in 2017.

Deepa Malik, silver medal, women’s shot put F53, Rio 2016

Deepa Malik is the only Indian woman to win a Paralympics medal. She won a silver medal in the women’s shot put F53 event at the 2016 Rio Games after a throw of 4.61m.

Deepa Malik received the Arjuna Award in 2012, the Padma Shri in 2017 and the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award in 2019. Deepa Malik is the president of the Paralympic Committee of India.

Bhavina Patel, silver medal, women’s singles table tennis Class 4, Tokyo 2020

Bhavina Patel is the first Indian table tennis player to win a medal at the Para Games.

Appearing in her debut Paralympics, Bhavina Patel upset reigning champion Borislava Peric of Serbia en route to the final. In the gold medal match, the Indian lost to world No. 1 Zhou Ying of China and settled for the silver medal.

Nishad Kumar, silver medal, men’s high jump T47, Tokyo 2020

Nishad Kumar won a silver medal in the men’s high jump T47 with a best effort of 2.06m, equalling his own Asian record.

The 22-year-old Indian was tied in the second place with USA’s Dallas Wise, who also had a best jump of 2.06m. They both won silver. USA’s Roderick Townsend-Roberts won the gold with his world record-breaking attempt of 2.15m jump.

Avani Lekhara, gold medal, women’s 10m air rifle shooting standing SH1, Tokyo 2020

The 19-year-old Avani Lekhara won a historic gold in her maiden Paralympics, shooting a new Paralympic record score of 249.6 in the women’s 10m air rifle shooting standing SH1 final in Tokyo. It made Avani Lekhara the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic gold medal.

Avani beat defending Paralympic champion Cuiping Zhang of China and reigning world champion Iryna Shchetnik of Ukraine in the final to win the gold medal.

Devendra Jhajharia, silver medal, men’s javelin throw F46, Tokyo 2020

Record-breaker Devendra Jhajharia won his third Paralympic medal with a silver in the men’s javelin throw F46 class in Tokyo.

He threw a new personal best of 64.35m in the final, beating his own previous world and Paralympic record of 63.97m. However, Sri Lankan Dinesh Herath eclipsed him with a best throw of 67.79m to take the gold medal.

The silver came 17 years after Devendra Jhajharia’s first Paralympic medal at Athens 2004.

Sundar Singh Gurjar, bronze medal, men’s javelin throw F46, Tokyo 2020

Sundar Singh Gurjar made it two Indians on the podium in the men’s javelin throw F46 category with his bronze medal.

He threw a season’s best 64.01m in the final.

Yogesh Kathuniya, silver medal, men’s discus throw F56, Tokyo 2020

India’s Yogesh Kathuniya won his first Paralympic medal with a best attempt of 44.58m in the men’s discus throw F56 class final.

He was only bested by Brazil’s Claudiney Batistia dos Santos, who threw a Paralympic record 45.59m to win the gold medal.

Sumit Antil, gold medal, men’s javelin throw F64, Tokyo 2020

Sumit Antil thrice broke his own world record to win gold in the men’s javelin throw F64 category.

The 23-year-old began with a 66.95m throw, beating his previous world record of 62.88m. In his second attempt, Sumit Antil once again made a new world record with a 68.08m throw.

The new world record was finally recorded at 68.55m – which was Sumit Antil’s fifth attempt in the final – and gave him the top step on the podium.

Singhraj Adhana, bronze medal, men’s 10m air pistol shooting SH1, Tokyo 2020

Singhraj Adhana won India’s second shooting medal at the Paralympics with bronze in the men’s 10m air pistol SH1 class.

The 39-year-old Singhraj Adhana shot 216.8 in the final to finish behind defending champion, China’s Chao Yang – who won gold with a Paralympic record 237.9 – and silver-medallist Xing Huang, also of China.

Mariyappan Thangavelu – Silver Medal – men’s high jump T42

Mariyappan Thangavelu won his second Paralympic medal, a silver in the men’s high jump T42 class.

After easily clearing the initial marks, Mariyappan Thangavelu took three attempts each to clear the 1.83m and 1.86m mark. He went for gold by attempting the 1.88m but could not jump past in three attempts, which gave him the silver medal.

USA’s Sam Grewe cleared the 1.88m in his third and final jump to take the gold.

Sharad Kumar – Bronze Medal – men’s high jump T42

Joining compatriot Thangavelu on the podium was Sharad Kumar, who won bronze in the men’s high jump T42.

Sharad Kumar cleared each of his first four marks, including the 1.83m, with his first jump to be assured of a medal. However, he was unable to clear the 1.86m with any of his three jumps and eventually took the bronze medal.

Paralympics’ India medal winners list

AthleteGamesEventMedal
Murlikant PetkarHeidelberg 1972Swimming, Men’s 50m freestyle 3Gold
Bhimrao KesarkarStoke Mandeville/New York 1984Men’s javelin throw L6Silver
Joginder Singh BediStoke Mandeville/New York 1984Men’s javelin throw L6Bronze
Joginder Singh BediStoke Mandeville/New York 1984Men’s shot put L6Silver
Joginder Singh BediStoke Mandeville/New York 1984Men’s discus throw L6Bronze
Devendra JhajhariaAthens 2004Men’s javelin throw F44/ 46Gold
Rajinder Singh RaheluAthens 2004Men’s 56 kgBronze
Girisha N GowdaLondon 2012Men’s high jump F42Silver
Mariyappan ThangaveluRio 2016Men’s high jump F42Gold
Varun Singh BhatiRio 2016Men’s high jump F42Bronze
Devendra JhajhariaRio 2016Men’s javelin throw F46Gold
Deepa MalikRio 2016Women’s shot put F53Silver
Bhavina PatelTokyo 2020Women’s singles table tennis Class 4Silver
Nishad KumarTokyo 2020Men’s high jump T47Silver
Avani LekharaTokyo 2020Women’s 10m air rifle shooting standing SH1Gold
Devendra JhajhariaTokyo 2020Men’s javelin throw F46Silver
Sundar Singh GurjarTokyo 2020Men’s javelin throw F46Bronze
Yogesh KathuniyaTokyo 2020Men’s discus throw F56Silver
Sumit AntilTokyo 2020Men’s javelin throw F64Gold
Singhraj AdhanaTokyo 2020Men’s 10m air pistol shooting SH1Bronze
Mariyappan ThangaveluTokyo 2020Men’s high jump T42Silver
Sharad KumarTokyo 2020Men’s high jump T42Bronze