Bhubaneswar, Oct 28:In a remarkable display of talent and determination, Indian para athletes made history at the Hangzhou Asian Para Games by concluding their campaign with an unprecedented 111 medals.
The Indian para athletes secured a total of 29 gold, 31 silver, and 51 bronze medals. Surpassing all expectations, they exceeded the previous record of 107 medals won by their able-bodied counterparts in the Hangzhou Asian Games, which took place from September 23 to October 8.
India's performance secured a fifth-place finish in the medals tally, an achievement that reflects the nation's growing prowess in para sports. The top spots were occupied by China, with a staggering 521 medals (214 gold, 167 silver, 140 bronze), followed by Iran (44 gold, 46 silver, 41 bronze), Japan (42 gold, 49 silver, 59 bronze), and Korea (30 gold, 33 silver, 40 bronze).
This remarkable feat is a testament to the incredible journey of Indian para athletes over the years. The first Para Asian Games in 2010 saw India finish 15th with just 14 medals, including one gold. In the 2014 and 2018 editions, India's rankings improved to 15th and ninth, respectively. However, the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Para Games marked a momentous turning point.
The achievement of over 100 medals in a major international multi-sport event, such as the Olympics, Asian Games, or Commonwealth Games, was last attained during the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games when India secured 101 medals. This recent success demonstrates the remarkable growth of para sports in the country.
Notably, India exceeded its previous highest Asian Para Games medal tally of 72 medals (15 gold, 24 silver, 33 bronze) achieved in the 2018 edition. Athletics played a significant role in this accomplishment, contributing 55 medals, including 18 gold, 17 silver, and 20 bronze. Indian shuttlers followed closely, securing 21 medals, including four gold. Additionally, chess and archery delivered eight and seven medals, respectively, while shooting contributed six.
The final day of competition saw India add 12 more medals, including four gold. Neeraj Yadav set a Games record in the men's javelin throw F55 event with gold, while Dilip Mahadu Gaviot secured gold in the men's 400m T47 race. Pooja clinched the last athletics medal with a bronze in the women's 1500m T20 race.
Chess players delivered an exceptional performance on the concluding day, achieving a total of seven medals, including two gold. In men's individual rapid VI-B1, Satish Inani Darpan secured gold, while Pradhan Kumar Soundarya and Ashwinbhai Kanchanbhai Makwana took silver and bronze, respectively. The Indian team also clinched the gold in this event.
Kishan Gangoli secured a bronze in men's individual rapid VI-B2/B3, and the trio of Vruthi Saganlal Jain, Himanshi Bhaveshkumar Rathi, and Sanskruti Vikas More won a bronze in the women's rapid VI-B1 team event.
The rowing event added to the glory, with Anita and Konganapalle Narayana earning silver in the PR3 mixed double sculls.
The 2022 Hangzhou Asian Para Games featured the largest-ever contingent of Indian athletes, with 313 participants, including 51 Tokyo Paralympians. India competed in 17 out of 22 sports, marking their debut in rowing, canoeing, lawn bowl, taekwondo, and blind football.
The postponed event due to the COVID-19 pandemic welcomed nearly 4,000 athletes from 43 countries, participating in 22 sports and 566 gold-medal events. India's historic performance not only celebrates the nation's para athletes but also reflects the growing strength and inclusivity of Indian sports on the international stage.