Indian athletes have put their best-ever performance in the history of Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
They won five medals on Monday, including two golds, taking the country’s tally of medals to eight.
Their previous best performance was at the 2016 Rio Games, when the contingent won four medals – two golds, one silver and one bronze.
Shooter Avani Lekhara created sporting history after becoming the first Indian woman to win a Paralympics gold medal.
The 19-year-old won with an impressive score of 149.6 in the final event of women’s 10m air rifle standing at Tokyo on Monday. With this, Lekhara has set a new Paralympic record and has also equalled the world record.
A second gold came from Sumit Antil who registered a massive 68.55m in javelin throw to beat his own world record.
Earlier in the day, javelin throwers Devendra Jhajharia won silver and Sundar Singh Gurjar won bronze. In men’s discus throw, Yogesh Kathuniya won silver.
Many in India have taken to Twitter to praise the athletes’ stellar performances.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it a “truly special moment for Indian sports”.
Here’s a look at some of the winners from this year:
Currently ranked fifth in the women’s 10m air rifle standing, Tokyo is Lekhara’s maiden appearance at the Paralympic Games.
Lekhara has a chance to win more medals as she will be competing in three other events.
A law student in the northern state of Rajasthan, she was paralysed below her waist in 2012 after a major car accident. She was 11 at that time.
However, she said she hoped her performance would help change the perception towards disabled people. “What I went through growing up, I don’t want the next generation of people with disability to suffer,” she said.
India is not known for being friendly towards the disabled. The community is often stigmatised and ignored. And most public places still lack basic facilities to help them in everyday life.
Nishad Kumar claimed a silver in the men’s high jump.
The 21-year-old cleared 2.06m on his second attempt to equal his own Asian record. He shares silver with American athlete Dallas Wise.
Son of a farmer in a small Himalayan town in Himachal Pradesh state, Kumar lost his right hand at the age of eight. He was at his father’s farm, when a grass-cutting machine accidentally ran over his arm.
He had also contracted Covid-19 earlier this year while training for the Games.
Source: BBC, Image: Reuters