Indian para athletes created history on Saturday, October 28, 2023, as they ended their Hangzhou Asian Para Games campaign with an unprecedented 111 medals, the biggest haul for the country in any major international multi-sport event.
With 29 gold, 31 silver and 51 bronze in their kitty, the Indian para athletes won four medals more than the record tally of 107 won by the able-bodied athletes in the Hangzhou Asian Games held from September 23 to October 8.
India ended at fifth place in the medals tally, a remarkable achievement in itself, below China (521 medals: 214 gold, 167 silver, 140 bronze), Iran (44 gold, 46 silver, 41 bronze), Japan (42, 49, 59) and Korea (30, 33, 40).
The first Para Asian Games was held in 2010 in Guangzhou, China, where India had finished 15th with 14 medals, including one gold.
In the 2014 and 2018 editions, India had finished 15th and ninth respectively.
The only instance India had crossed the 100-medal mark in a major international multi-sport event (Olympics, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games) was the 101 won during the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
“We have made history, our para athletes have done the country proud. We will win more medals in the Paris Paralympics than in Tokyo,” Paralympic Committee of India president Deepa Malik told PTI.
“However, it is not a surprise for us. We have expected between 110 to 115 medals and we ended at 111, the auspicious number (Angel Number),” she added.
On Thursday, India had gone past the earlier highest Asian Para Games tally of 72 medals (15 gold, 24 silver, 33 bronze) achieved in the 2018 edition.
India won 39 more medals than the 2018 edition with athletics contributing 55 (18 gold, 17 silver, 20) out of India’s total of 111.
Shuttlers shine well
Indian shuttlers contributed the second most medal with 21, including four gold. Chess and archery gave eight and seven medals respectively while shooting contributed six.
On the concluding day on Saturday, India added 12 medals, including four gold. Seven medals came from chess, four from athletics and one from rowing.
Neeraj Yadav began the day for India with a gold in men’s javelin throw F55 with a Games record of 33.69m. Compatriot Tek Chand clinched a bronze with a personal best of 30.36m in the same event.
Dilip Mahadu Gaviot added another athletics gold by winning the men’s 400m T47 race with a time of 49.48 seconds.
Pooja then picked up the last athletics medal by bagging a bronze in women’s 1500m T20 race with a time of 5:38.81s.
Chess players saved the best for the last with a seven-medal rush, including two gold, on the final day.
India swept all the three medals in men’s individual rapid VI-B1 event with Satish Inani Darpan winning gold while Pradhan Kumar Soundarya and Ashwinbhai Kanchanbhai Makwana bagged silver and bronze respectively. The trio also bagged the team gold.
Kishan Gangoli won a bronze in men’s individual rapid VI-B2/B3 event. Gangoli, Somendra and Aryan Balchandra Joshi won a team bronze in the same event.
The trio of Vruthi Saganlal Jain, Himanshi Bhaveshkumar Rathi and Sanskruti Vikas More won a bronze in women’s rapid VI-B1 team event.
On Saturday, India also won the lone medal in rowing with Anita and Konganapalle Narayana picking up a silver in PR3 mixed double sculls event.
India had sent 313 athletes at the Hangzhou Para Asian Games, the biggest in any edition with 51 Tokyo Paralympians in the team.
India competed in 17 out of 22 sports, with the country fielding athletes for the first time in rowing, canoeing, lawn bowl, taekwondo and blind football.
Nearly 4,000 athletes from 43 countries are competing across 22 sports in 566 gold-medal events in the Hangzhou Asian Para Games.
The Hangzhou Asian Para Games were originally scheduled to take place from October 9-15, 2022 but were postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.