Tokyo: Two gold medals with world records, two silver medals with hefty throws, and a bronze medal made up India’s magical haul, a single day high at Tokyo 2020 that saw the country achieve its best-ever medal performance at the Paralympic Games on a sensational day.
India won five medals on Monday to take their tally at the Tokyo 2020 to seven — two gold, four silver, and one bronze and leapfrogged to 26th position in the medal table.
The five medals on Monday took India’s total medal count from the Paralympic Games to 19.
Shooter Avani Lekhara and javelin thrower Sumit Antil won the two gold medals.
Devendra Jhajharia and Yogesh Kathuria claimed the silver medals in Javelin F46 and discus throw F56 while Sudar Singh Gurjar bagged a bronze medal in men’s javelin throw F46 for India on Monday.
Avani made history on Monday as she became the first Indian woman to win gold, giving the day a brilliant start. The 19-year-old from Jaipur, Rajasthan, bagged India’s first gold in Tokyo and overall fifth in Paralympic history, in R2 Women’s 10m Air Rifle SH1 with a world record score of 249.6 in the final.
The 19-year-old Avani, who sustained spinal cord injuries in a car accident in 2012, qualified seventh for the final but shot superbly to leapfrog seven shooters in the first elimination series itself in the final and never looked back.
China’s Zhang Cuiping took silver, as she did in Rio 2016, with a score of 248.9 while Ukraine’s Iryna Schetnik finished with a total of 227.5 for bronze.
The second gold medal and World Record was achieved by Sumit Antil in javelin throw F64.
Antil hurled the spear to 68.55 metres, improving on his mark of 62.88 set in November 2019. The 23-year-old from Sonipat, who lost his left leg below the knee after he was involved in a motorbike accident in 2005, participated in able-bodied javelin throw till 2015 before taking a break.
It was a bitter-sweet day for Devendra Jhajharia, a double gold medallist in the Paralympics having won gold medals in 2004 in Athens and 2016 in Rio who was gunning for a third gold medal. Jhajharia had to be satisfied with his threw 64.35, much better than his world record of 63.97
Gurjar, a two-time world champion, took the bronze medal with a best throw of 64.01 metres on Monday.
It was a quiet redemption for Gurjar as he had tragically missed a chance to compete at the Rio Paralympics in 2016 because he turned up late for his event.
Discus thrower Yogesh Kathunia brought home the second silver medal of the day. Kathuniya won the medal in Men’s Discus Throw F56, finishing second with a distance of 44.38.
Kathuniya, the 24-year-old from Delhi who suffered a paralytic attack at the age of eight which resulted in impaired coordination in his limbs, was in gold medal position till Batista achieved 44.57 in his first throw as the seventh athlete in order of throws.
In the evening, Sandeep too missed the bronze medal as he finished third in javelin throw F64.
While it was a big haul on Monday, India could be in a rich haul on Tuesday too as Mariyappan Thangavelu, who won gold in men’s high jump T63 at Rio 2016 will be attempting to defend his title while Varun Singh Bhati, who finished third in Rio, will be looking to improve on his bronze.
Shooters Rubina Francis and Manish Narwal start favourite in women’s and men’s 10m air pistol competition.