A 54-member Indian team for the upcoming Tokyo Paralympics was today accorded a warm send-off by Sports Minister Anurag Thakur and the national governing body, with high hopes that the country will return with its best-ever performance.
The team has some of the brightest medal prospects like Devendra Jhajharia, seeking his third Paralympics gold (after 2004 and 2016) in F-46 javelin throw, Mariyappan Thangavelu (T-63 high jump) and world champion Sandeep Chaudhary (F-64 javelin throw).
India will compete in nine sports. Mariyappan, who had won a gold in Rio, will be the flagbearer of the Indian contingent during the opening ceremony on August 24. The Tokyo Paralympics will end on September 5. The Tokyo-bound players were part of the event virtually as they are in strict bio-bubble.
The National Sports Awards function, which is held on August 29 every year, has been pushed back since the government wants the selection panel to consider the performances of the para-athletes competing at the Tokyo Paralympics. “Like last time, this year’s award ceremony could also be held virtually,” a ministry source said.