With their performances topping the the world's best, the Paralympics athletes of Rio 2016 show they can hold their own. India sent 19 athletes to the event for 10 sporting events, its largest contingent so far. Fourteen out of the 19 are first-time Indian representatives in those sports. India won 4 medals in Rio, each medal a promise to the next generation of sportspeople.
The gathering of athletes for next Olympics begins now and here are the other sports we can see Indian contenders in at Tokyo Paralympics 2020.
Wheelchair basketball is a popular sport at the Paralympics appreciated for the speed that wheels bring to the game. India has the Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India (WBFI) that holds national championships every year. This year, the Indian team has been working very hard, practising for Tokyo 2020. Read about their campaign to crowdfund sports wheelchairs for their team members.
Sitting Volleyball was introduced as a sport at the Paralympics in 1980. This year, four countries participated in event at Rio, a number that is set to change at Tokyo. India has its own sitting volleyball events. Fifteen states in India have an association of their own which are further affiliated to the Paralympic Volleyball Federation of India. Every year around December, the teams battle it out at the national championships.
Divyaang Myithri Sports Academy (DMSA) is founded by team of para athletes to nurture budding para athletes of India. They are training ten athletes for Paralympics but the front running champion has to be Shekar Veeraswamy, India's current top player and a member of the International Tennis Federation. Local associations need more wheelchairs so players like Shekar can practise as much as they need.
India's 2010 Asian Para Games winner Farman Basha missed the bronze by a whisker at Rio. Farman is coaching, Sakina Khatun, from Basirhat, West Bengal for Tokyo. Sakina, who was afflicted with polio at birth won a bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. While Sakina couldn't participate in Rio this year because of her world ranking being low, she plans to give it her all next year at Tokyo.
Indian para athlete Adil Ansari fought a life-threatening injury and took up sports. He trained for a years and won a gold in India's first Senior National Archery Championship in Rohtak, Haryana in May this year. He is now training for Tokyo and is crowdfunding money to buy equipment.
While the qualifying event only begins in 2018, now is the time to support our athletes and help them stay firm to their resolve. Donate now.