Dubai: India’s celebrated para high-jumpers Sharad Kumar and Mariyappan Thangavelu qualified for next year’s Tokyo Paralympics after claiming the silver and bronze medal respectively in the World Para-Athletics Championships here Thursday night.
Two-time Asian Para Games champion Sharad Kumar cleared the bar with season’s best effort of 1.83 metres, while Mariyappan, a Rio Paralympic gold medallist, settled for the bronze, also with his season’s best of 1.80 metres.
The gold went to Sam Grewe, who won the top honours with a championship record of 1.86 metres.
Sharad, the former World No.1, stayed in the lead initially clearing the bar at 1.67m until 1.83m before Grewe surged ahead with 1.86m to be on top.
“I am disappointed with what I performed today. Considering that I have been living and training in Ukraine for the last three years, I should have given a better performance. I need to re-check my schedule, my planning and many other things,” Sharad was quoted as saying by the Paralympic Committee of India.
“It’s been a hard time. I have been playing continuously. Now I need a break. I am going on a holiday from here with my friends who have come down to cheer for me from London,” said the 27-year-old Sharad, who has completed his Masters in International Relations from JNU.
Mariyappan, who failed to clear 1.83 metres in his last attempt, also admitted that he couldn’t perform his best.
“My body didn’t open up. I didn’t get my best one here. The conditions were a little cold in the evening. I hope I can do better in Tokyo 2020 and live up to the expectations of my coach, Satyanarayana,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Lal Vinay Kumar, the Asian Para Games bronze medallist, claimed a similar medal in the men’s 400m T44 event, and a Tokyo 2020 spot, finishing in 55.49 seconds.
After the penultimate day’s action, India have – two gold, two silver and five bronze medals – from the Championships.