PCI picks 24 para athletes for Tokyo Paralympics

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New Delhi, Jul 3 (PTI) The Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) on Saturday announced a 24-member athletics team, headlined by star javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia and high jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu, for the Tokyo Paralympics, beginning August 24.

Besides Jhajharia and Thangavelu, who won gold in the F46 javelin and T-42 high jump events respectively in the 2016 Rio Paralympics, other top para-athletes include world record holders Sandeep Chowdhury and Sumeet.

The PCI's selection committee picked the team after a two-day trial at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on June 29 and 30. The selection meeting was chaired by PCI chief Deepa Malik.

India has been granted 24 slots, including four women, by the World Para Athletics.

The committee also picked men's F-57 javelin thrower Ranjeet Bhati, who was not in the long list of athletes for accreditation as his ranking was low before the trial.

'However, he significantly improved his performance in Final Selection Trial and is ranked 5th as per the MES Ranking as on 01.07.2021,' the PCI said.

'His selection is subjected to issuance of the accreditation for the upcoming Tokyo Paralympics 2020.' The committee also named Sandip Sanjay Sargar (javelin F-64) as reserve athlete.

Thangavelu, who was earlier named the Indian contingent's flag bearer for the Paralympics, said the honour will motivate him to produce a medal-winning performance this time also.

'My performance at selection trials (1.86m) was one of my best after my Rio 2016 performance. I had an ankle injury in 2017 and it took some time to heal. It's been a while since I had been looking to get my old rhythm back. And I believe I have got it back now. I feel I am ready for the Games,' he said.

'I am also happy to be named as the flag-bearer of the Indian team. This will motivate me to come up with a medal winning performance. I will aim for the gold and aim for a jump of 1.93 metres,' the 26-year-old from Salem in Tamil Nadu said.

The Team: Men: Devendra Jhajharia, Ajeet Singh and Sundar Singh Gurjar (all javelin F-46), Sandeep Chaudhary and Sumit (both javelin F-64), Mariyappan Thangavelu, Sharad Kumar and Varun Singh Bhatti (all high jump T-63), Amit Kumar and Dharambir (both club throw F-51), Nishad Kumar and Ram Pal (both high jump T-47), Sonam Rana (shot put F-57), Navdeep (javelin F-41), Praveen Kumar (high jump T-64), Yogesh Kathuniya (discus throw F-56), Vinod Kumar (discus throw F-56), Ranjeet Bhati (javelin F-57), Arvind (shot put F-35), Tek Chand (javelin F-54).

Women: Ekta Bhyan and Kashish Lakra (both club throw F-51), Bhagyashri Jadhav (shot put F-34), Simran (100m T-13).

Reserve: Sandi Sanjay Sagar (men's javelin F-64). PTI PDS PDS KHS KHS

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