Tokyo: There could not have been a better tribute for hockey wizard Dhyan Chand as on his birth anniversary, celebrated as National Sports Day, India bagged two silver and one bronze medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games on Sunday.
Paddler Bhavina Patel started what turned out to be a Super Sunday for India as she won a silver medal in the women’s singles Class 4 competition at the table tennis venue, capping off an incredible run during which she defeated the gold and silver medallist at the Rio Paralympics five years ago.
In the evening at the main Olympic Stadium, high jumper Nishad Kumar added another silver to India’s tally in men’s high jump T47, clearing the bar at 2.06, equalling the Asian record. Nishad finished second behind Roderick Townsend of the United States, who set a world record by clearing 2 metres and 15 cm.
Discus thrower Vinod Kumar added a bronze to the tally on the fifth day of competition at Tokyo 2020 by finishing third in the F52 event, hurling the disc to 19.91 metres for an Asian record.
India, who had failed to win a single medal on the first four days, finished the day at 42nd position behind Georgia, who has three silver medals. This takes to 15 India’s overall tally at the Paralympic Games — 4 gold, 6 silver and 5 bronze medals.
The day started on a rousing note as Bhavina Patel, a 34-year-old government employee from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, sealed India’s first silver medal after she lost to world No. 1 Zhou Ying in women’s singles Class 4 final.
There was no fairy-tale ending as Bhavina’s sensational run in Tokyo ended with a historic silver medal, becoming the first table tennis player from the country to win a medal in the Paralympic Games.
Bhavina, ranked 12th in the world, had made an incredible run to the final by beating the gold and silver medallist of the 2016 Rio Paralympics. On Sunday, she found Zhou, winner at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, too strong to handle and lost 3-0 (7-11, 5-11, 6-11) in a 19-minute encounter.
Nishad Kumar added the second silver in the evening.
Nishad finished second behind Roderick Townsend of the United States, who set a world record by clearing 2 metres and 15 centimetres.
The 21-year-old Nishad Kumar who hails from Una in Himachal Pradesh started with 1.89 metres, which he cleared easily. He cleared 1.94 in his second effort and 1.98 and his third. His best effort of 2.06 came in his fifth jump and though he went for 2.09 in his final chance, he could not clear it and had to settle for second place.
Vinod Kumar was the improbable third medal winner for India on Sunday in discus throw F52.
The 42-year-old Vinod, who took up para-athletics only in his 30s, hurled the discus to 19.91 metres in the seated/standing discus throw event on his fifth effort. He finished third behind Poland’s gold medallist Piotr Kosewicz (20.02m) and Croatia’s Velimir Sandor (19.98).
At one time the 42-year-old from Rohtak in Haryana was placed second before Sandor cleared 19.98 in his fifth throw to take the silver medal.
Vinod ranked sixth in the world, had started with 19.09 metres in his first throw before he managed to clear 19.81 in his second chance, clearly establishing his intent to fight for the medal.
Vinod comes from a family of army men — his father was injured during the 1971 war with Pakistan. Vinod had joined BSF after completing his education but had to leave the force as he suffered an injury in 2002 when he fell off a cliff in Leh, leading to severe injuries to his legs. He was bed-ridden for close to 10 years.
While these three spread cheers among the 1.3 billion citizens, there were some disappointments too on the day.
The Mixed Team of Jyoti Baliyan and Rakesh Kumar made it to the quarterfinals in compound archery competitions before it lost to eventual silver medallist Turkey. One poor round at the start of the quarterfinals put paid to India’s hopes as they could not recover from the deficit and lost 151-153 to Turkey’s Cure Oznur and Bulent Korkmaz to end India’s hopes.
Earlier in the day, Jyoti’s challenge in the women’s Individual Compound Open archery competitions came to an end with a defeat to Ireland’s Kerrie-Lousie Leonard in a 1/16 Elimination round at the Yumenoshima Final Field here.
Jyoti, who had qualified 15th with a score of 671, lost to Kerrie-Lousie 137-141 in the 15 arrow elimination round.