The Olympics and Paralympic games are the world’s most esteemed sporting events. Athletes from all across the globe come together once every four years to participate in a plethora of events and win laurels for themselves and their nation. The Olympics and Paralympics games that were scheduled to be held in July 2020 were unfortunately postponed due to Covid-19. The pandemic hit every part of the planet and conducting such a large event at the risk of people’s health was not a viable solution.
Thus, the Olympic and Paralympic Games were postponed and pushed to next year. The Olympic games were conducted from July 23rd to August 8th, 2021.
The games were a huge success, especially for India. India recorded mammoth participation of 121 athletes and broke all previous records. The country won 7 medals across all the games. Mirabai Chanu’s silver in weightlifting led the way to another one by Ravi Dahiya in wrestling. The men’s hockey team stood third and secured a medal for the nation after a long wait of 41 years. Lovlina Borgohain and Bajrang Punia joined the hockey team to secure two more bronze in boxing and wrestling respectively. The 2016 Olympic Silver medallist in badminton, P. V. Sindhu, won another bronze, becoming the most decorated Indian Olympian. Adding a cherry on top, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra won the first-ever gold medal for India in athletics with a record-breaking throw of 87.58 metres.
However, India’s feat did not cease after the Olympic Games. The Paralympic champions added more glory to the nation’s sporting history. Disabled athletes would often participate in the Summer Olympic events. However, the governing committee later realized the need and importance of a completely different event to honor the feat of these athletes.
The first-ever competition for wheelchair athletes was organized on 29th July 1948, the day of the Opening Ceremony of the London 1948 Olympic Games, which was named the Stoke Mandeville Games. It later became the Paralympic Games, which took place for the first time in Rome, Italy, in 1960. The Games saw an increased number of athletes across the globe participating, and they increased the span of the events and scheduled them post-Olympic Games.
This year, the Paralympic Games were held from August 24th to September 5th, 2021. India sent 54 parathletes this year, and received a record-breaking number of 19 medals in return. Here are the champions who made the nation proud.
Source – The Bridge
The Gold Medallists:
5 athletes went on to receive their gold medals during the Games. 19-year-old Avani Lekhara won the gold in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1 shooting event. She had an accident when she was just 11 years old and has been suffering from paraplegia ever since. India also secured another gold in the Mixed 50m Pistol SH1 Shooting event, and Manish Narwal was the man of the hour here. Narwal dreamt of becoming a footballer, but his congenital impairment led to the shift in the sport.
Sumit Antil, joined Neeraj Chopra to secure a gold in the javelin throw. His amputated leg barely proved to be an obstacle when he jarred the javelin at a mammoth distance of 68.55m. Badminton players Pramod Bhagat and Krishna Nagar won the gold medals in Men’s Singles. These men are currently ranked at World No.1 and 2, making the country so proud.
Source – R6Nationals
The Silver Medallists:
India secured 8 silver medals in the Paralympic Games this year. Bhavina Patel led the way and secured the first medal of the 2021 Games in the Table Tennis event. Nishad Kumar, Mariyappan Thangaveluand Praveen Kumar went on to win silver medals in the high jump and broke many more world and Asian records with their zealous jumps. 2004 and 2016 Olympic gold medal winner Devendra Jhajharia secured his second medal in thejavelin throw, becoming the most decorated Paralympian athlete. Joining Pramod Bhagat and Krishna Nagar, IAS officer SuhasYathiraj won a silver in the Men’s Badminton Singles. SinghrajAdhanawent on to win the first-ever medal in pistol shooting by an Indian athlete, and Yogesh Kathuniya closed the silver medal tally with his medal in Men’s Discus Throw.
The Bronze Medallists:
5 more medals came from the parathletes who secured bronze for their feat. Along with their gold and silver medals, Avani Lekhara and Singhraj Adhana went on to win bronze medals in their respective sports. Harvinder Singh won a bronze in Men’s individual recurve open event and became the first-ever Indian Para Athlete Archer. The former world number 1 jumper, Sharad Kumar, added another bronze to his numerous medal tally in various other championships. Kumar, who was paralyzed in his left leg, trained in the high jump and made his debut at the 2010 Asian Games. Sundar Singh Gurjar, who was inspired by Devendra Jhajharia, participated in the Games along with his idol and secured his bronze medal in the Men’s Javelin Throw.
Sports train us to inculcate traits of determination, discipline and immense valour. The Olympic champions made the nation proud of their victory, but so did the Paralympic champions. The fact that these athletes, in spite of their physical challenges, did not compromise on their grit and dedication is commendable. Their never-give-up attitude and resilience are a much greater achievement than the medals and laurels they’ve won. It is essential to acknowledge, appreciate,and encourage them, and in turn, empower them. Their service to the nation is no different than any other. We hope their victories inspire many more generations to break past their limitations and make the nation even more proud!
Written by- Hetvi Mehta
Edited by- Riya Khetan