Spearheaded by Asian Para Games gold medallist Ekta Bhyan, the young Indian Para Athletics team returned home with seven medals from the Dubai 2023 World Para Athletics Grand Prix.
The Indian contingent, which included several youngsters making their international debut in Dubai, also bagged four silver and two bronze medals while Bhyan won bronze in the women’s wheelchair discus throw (F53).
She also set an Asian Record in the club throw competition though she finished out of the medal bracket at the Dubai Club for People of Determination Grounds. There were altogether seven world records and 45 regional records, making the event a great success.
In the medals standings, China returned to international competition after two years gap with a bang, finishing on top with 102 medals that included 42 gold medals, followed by Ukraine (11 gold medals) and Uzbekistan (9 gold). India finished in 28th place.
Bhyan hurled the discus to 6.35m in the fifth round to claim the bronze medal in the women’s wheelchair discus F53 event, which was won by Ukraine’s Zoia Ovsii (13.19m).
The 37-year-old from Hisar then went on to set a new Asian record in the women’s club F51 event despite finishing sixth with a throw of 17.20m. The event was won by Ukraine’s Ovsii who shone with a throw of 23.88 meters.
Owing to her show in the Club throw event, Bhyan made the cut for the World Para Athletics Championships set to take place in Paris from July 8 to 17, 2023.
“I am glad that with this performance, I could improve my world ranking and set a new Asian record. Though, I was expecting the throw of 18 plus. Anyway, I will work harder and perform better than this in the upcoming events — World Championship and Asian Para Games,” she said.
“The World Championships will be a huge competition with all the best athletes from all over the world. With three months left for the Championships now, the training will be in full swing to win a medal for the country,” Bhyan told the Paralympic Committee of India looking ahead to the major events.
Runners and throwers shine too
Bryan was joined by several youngsters on the podium, including young Mohan Harsha Uyyala who claimed the silver medals in the men’s 100m T47 final.
Delhi-based middle-distance runner Balwant Singh Rawat also picked up a silver medal running the men’s 1500 m T11/12 final in 4:26.63 minutes and doubled it up with his second-place finish in men’s 5000m final T11/12 racing in 17:23.27min.
Throwers Ravi Kumar and Parveen Kumar too added to India’s tally.
While Ravi threw the javelin 50.65m for the silver in the men’s javelin F46 final, Parveen claimed bronze in the men’s javelin F57 event with an effort of 41.86m, before he picked his second bronze (40.84m) in men’s discus men F57 event.
Overall, the Indian team had an amazing run at the United Arab Emirates as they finished second with 23 medals including nine gold in the medals table of the Sharjah International Open Para Athletics Meeting earlier last month.
Sprinter Shalini Saraswathi also set a new Asian Record running the women’s 100m T62 final in 18.04secs. All the records are subject to ratification by the World Para Athletics.