Two weeks since India secured the nation’s most-successful Asian Games showing, India’s para-athletes will look to follow suit at the Hangzhou Asian Para Games, which will be held from 22-28 October.
India is sending its largest contingent ever of 303 athletes – 191 male and 112 female athletes – for what promises to be a medal-laden competition. The likes of Pramod Bhagat, Ekta Bhyan and Suyash Jadhav will look to defend their titles, while Tokyo Paralympics gold medallists Avani Lekhara and Sumit Antil will look to mark their Asian Para Games. debuts with gold.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of India’s 2022 Asian Para Games campaign –
How did India fare at the 2018 Asian Para Games?
India sent 190 athletes for the 2018 Asian Para Games and finished ninth on the medal tally with 15 golds and a total of 72 medals. This was India’s best finish at the Asian Para Games, a strong improvement from the 33 medals won in the 2014 edition.
Can this contingent crack the 100-medal barrier that had been such a marker of progress a fortnight ago? In all reality, the possibility is high. India will participate in 17 disciplines this time around, which is the most number of sports they ever have and will be competing in canoe, blind football, lawn bowls, rowing, and taekwondo for the first time. With a bunch of reigning Olympic, World and Asian champions, the Indian Para contingent should return with a record medal haul. India’s chances will be boosted by the fact that 51 of the 54 athletes who took part in the Tokyo Paralympics are part of this contingent as well, they will fear no stage.
Who are the big names to look out for at the 2022 Asian Para Games?
Let’s start with the Paralympic and World champion, Sumit. He is the world’s best javelin thrower in the F64 category and is also the world record holder – he threw 70.83m to win the World Para Athletics Championships this year. Also keep an eye on javelin thrower Ajeet Singh in the F46 category, where he is the defending World champion.
Para shooter Manish Narwal recently added the World title to his Paralympics gold medal [P1 – men’s 10m air pistol SH1] and will be looking to continue his rich form at the Para Asian Games, as will Avani. The 21-year-old Paralympics gold medallist rewrote the world record to win the women’s 10m Air Rifle standing SH1 at the Para-Shooting World Cup in 2022.
India’s ace para-shuttler Pramod Bhagat will be keen to retain his title. The 35-year-old is the World #2 in singles and doubles in his classification and also won a singles gold at the 2022 World Championships.
Table tennis player Bhavinaben Patel, who won silver at the Tokyo Paralympics, comes into the Para Asian Games after winning gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Some of the other top names to watch out for include high-jumpers Mariyappan Thangavelu [2016 Paralympics gold (T42) and silver in 2021 (T63)] and Nishad Kumar [2023 Worlds silver with an Asian Record (T47)] and para-swimmer Suyash Jadhav [the first Indian para-swimmer to win an Asian Para Games gold in the men’s 50m Butterfly – S7].
Any defending champions in the Indian team?
Oh yes, 13 of the 15 Indians who won gold at the previous editions will be defending their titles at the 2022 Asian Para Games –
Pramod Bhagat [Men’s Singles SL3]
Ekta Bhyan [Women’s Club Throw F32/51]
Suyash Jadhav [Men’s 50M Butterfly S7 (6-7)]
Manish Narwal [P1 – Men’s 10m Air Pistol SH1 and P4 – Mixed 50m Pistol SH1]
Harvinder Singh [Men’s Individual Recurve Open – W2/ST]
Parul Parmar [Women’s Singles SL3]
Kishan Gangolli [Men’s Individual Rapid VI – B2/B3]
Amit Kumar [Men’s Club Throw F51]
Tarun Dhillon [Men’s Singles SL4]
Neeraj Yadav [Men’s Javelin Throw F55]
Sandeep Chaudhary [Men’s Javelin Throw F42-44/61-64]
Rakshita Raju [Women’s 1500M T11]
Narayan Thakur [Men’s 100m T35]
Where can I watch the 2022 Asian Para Games in India?
Indian viewers can watch the 2022 Asian Para Games live on FanCode.