Limbs Might Fail Them, But Their Dreams Will Never

#ParalympicsThe journey for Rio Paralympics will begin today, without much or any furore or coverage or well wishes. India goes off to Rio with its largest-ever contingent ever, since the inception of the games of para-athletes. India will field 19 Paralympians at Rio 2016, the hope for these athletes would be to add to the eight medals that India has won so far.

These athletes have braced all the odds, and yet fight for acceptance amongst the society. The Paralympics will not have any television coverage in India as it failed to attract any national broadcasters. It’s just sad that we won’t be able to see any of our athletes win Olympic medals.

Leading a campaign on the significant drop in media coverage in the build-up to the Rio Paralympic Games starting on Wednesday, Zenji Nio, the first Indian-origin official chaplain of the Olympics and the Paralympics, has questioned the apathy that is unabashedly shown towards its para-athletes. So much so is the ignorance that not even Doordarshan has come forth to do the coverage.

This is nothing but a plight, and just showcases how we still treat disability as a crime, or a sin which should be ignored.

The 2016 Paralympics, will see 4,300 athletes competing for medals in 23 disciplines. India will represent high jump, archery, javelin throw, shot put, shooting, swimming, discus throw, powerlifting, 1500m and club throw.  India has so far won a total of eight medals at the Paralympic Games, including two golds, three silvers and three bronzes. Of these, one gold, three silver and two bronze medals have come in athletics while swimming and powerlifting have yielded a gold and a bronze respectively.

Among the Indian athletes, javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia, who became India’s first Paralympic gold medalist in Athens 2004, will be taking part in his fourth edition and will hope to finish on the podium this time as well. Deepa Malik is another para-athlete who is all geared up to win pride for our country, and has an outstanding record to herself. This woman is into swimming, javelin throw, shot put, discus throw and even motorsport, and is an Arjun Awardee too. Karamjyoti Lal represents India in discus throw, and is another contender for a medal. She achieved the 4th position at the IPC Para-athletics championship in 2015, and hence is another well-touted contender.

Suyash Narayan Jadhav is the only representative in swimming from India. In 2015, Suyash became the first Indian para swimmer to record the ‘A’ qualifying mark for 2016 Paralympics in Rio, hence the force is strong with this one too. Farman Basha is all set to represent India for the 4th time in Paralympics in powerlifting. Ankur Dhama is the first visually impaired athlete from India, and has created history in the process.

Mariyappan Thangavelu, Varun Singh Bhati, Sharad Kumar, Rampal Chahar will all represent India in high jump, and thus we have amazing odds to win a medal. For javelin throw we have- Sundar Singh Gurjar, Rinku, Ranbir Narendar, Sandeep and Virendra Dhankar. Virender is the current world no. 1 in Javelin F57 category & world no. 5 in Shot-put F57.

For club throw we have – Amit Kumar Saroha and Dharambir; representing shooting sport is Naresh Sharma, while archery would be represented by Pooja.

These are the athletes representing us in Rio Paralympics’2016. Here’s wishing them all the luck for their extraordinary feats they will achieve in the game of Paralympics and beyond.

Their journey has been harsh and hard but that hasn’t discouraged them to achieve their goals. They are way beyond the pettiness the society has inflicted on them since ages, they have beautifully survived, survived enough to be ingrained with immense strength and self-worth, something even we able-bodied fail to achieve.

Yugansha Malhotra

Image Sources:

The Viewspaper