In addition to the Rio Summer Olympics, this year is also seeing the Paralympics happening in Rio. Represented by their largest ever contingent (19 sportspersons) for 5 disciplines, the Paralympics is a global celebration of triumph over disability.
Since 1968, India has won a total of eight medals at the Paralympic Games, including two gold, three silver and three bronze. Of these, one gold, three silver and and two bronze medals have come in athletics while swimming and power-lifting have yielded a gold and a bronze respectively. This year, out of 19 delegates, 3 are women sportspersons- Pooja (Archery), Deepa Malik (Shot put) and Karamjyoti Dalal (Discus).
Deepa Malik, a paraplegic with an impressive medal in sports like the discus and javelin, has entered the Limca Book of World Records four times for her road trips on bike and car, across rough terrains. She has 58 national medals and 17 international ones, till date. In Rio, she created history by being the first Indian woman to win a medal, when she bagged a Silver in the shot put event.
Pooja is the first Indian to participate in Archery in the Paralympics. The 25-year-old suffered from polio as a child, leaving her with impairment in her legs. She started out as a para discus athlete, but then switched to archery in 2010.
Karamjyoti Dalal was originally a part of the national Kabaddi setup, but was forced to leave the sport after a fall from her terrace. She couldn’t move for close to a year, and was completely bed-ridden. It took her about two years to become thoroughly mobile on her wheelchair. She has achieved many laurels in the field of discus throw, winning 5 medals in less than a year.
India won a total of 4 medals at the Paralympics- Mariyappan Thangavelu and Devendra Jhajaria won gold, Deepa Malik won silver and Varun Singh Bhati won bronze.
Sports in our country has been oft neglected, and being a disabled athlete, places many more kinds of odds against these people. All these paralympic sportspersons are doing very well in their respective fields, and many of them are amongst the top 10 in their respective sports. Hence, we are so proud of our Paralympic athletes for crossing all the hurdles which society, gender and disability places on them. We hope that these stories, and performances, encourage other disabled people to realize their potential. Additionally, these stories should serve as a signal to our administration and sporting bodies, to better the facilities available to all sportspersons, and to place emphasis on sports from the school and college level.
From our end, CSR wishes these sportspersons maximum luck and encouragement for not just the Paralympics, but throughout their sporting careers!
Discuss this article on Facebook