India finish third with 23 medals at World Para Athletics GP in Dubai

India bagged 11 gold medals during the course of the competition

By Samrat Chakraborty ·

India finished in third place with 23 medals at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Dubai, which was held from February 6 to 14. Out of the 23 medals, 11 were gold, while silver and bronze were six apiece.

The Indian contingent finished on a high as Praveen Kumar and Nishad Kumar grabbed gold and also set Asian records in high jump.

Praveen cleared 2.05m to clinch gold ahead of fellow Indian Sharad Kumar (1.76m) and Hamada Hassan.

"After so long I was competing, so I was a bit nervous. But all my hard work paid off here. Also thanks to my coach Satyapal Sir who has been guiding me in my training," said the 2019 world junior silver medallist.

"I want to win the gold at Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. I will need to work very hard to achieve my target," he added.

Meanwhile, Nishad leapt 2.06m to win gold in men's high jump T46/47 beating Thailand's Angkarn Chanaboon (1.93m) and Omadbek Khasanov Uzbekistan (1.90m).

Thailand finished the competition at the top of the medal's tally with 14 gold, 13 silver and 12 bronze. Whereas, Uzbekistan came second with 13 gold, five silver, and six bronze.

Para athletes Navdeep and Arvind secured their spot for the Tokyo Paralympics in javelin and shot put respectively.

Navdeep claimed gold in the F41 event with a throw of 43.58m.

"I felt confident with my throw today. My first throw wasn't very good, but then I tried to focus and got a good throw. Sandeep (Chaudhary) bhaiya and Navdeep Sir have been helping me with my technique at JN Stadium in New Delhi. I am very happy to also secure a quota. I want to win a medal at the Tokyo Paralympic now," said Navdeep.

On the other hand, Arvind crossed the minimum qualification mark with a throw of 14.05m in men's shot put (F35/36) to confirm a Tokyo berth. However, he finished fifth in the event.

Sandeep Chaudhary (F44), also won gold in javelin by hurling a distance of 61.22m.

"It's a nice feeling to return to one of my favourite grounds. My body felt good to compete after a long time. But I was hoping to get my personal best today. Nevertheless, to open the season with over 61m distance is not bad," Chaudhary said.

"In the coming months, it will be more about following the process and staying in shape before we start our final preparation for the Tokyo 2020," added Chaudhary.

But Sandeep Gurjar had to settle with a bronze, behind compatriot Ajeet Singh.

Pranav Prashant Desai (T64) won gold in 200m after clocking 24.96s defeating participants of Thailand and Kazakhstan.

Simran won gold and silver in women T13 100m and 400m respectively. While, Bhagyashri Mahavir Jadhav won silver in shot put with a throw of 6.18m, behind Morocco's Saida Amoudi (8.33m).

Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) President Dr Deepa Malik was elated with India's performance during the four-day competition.

“Our Para athletes have made us really very proud. This championship was important in regard to their returning back to shape in the build-up to Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, besides giving exposure to a few new faces,” she said.

“The Championship was also the season opener for Para Athletics after more than a year’s gap, so a good performance will definitely boost their confidence. We are delighted that our athletes delivered what was expected from them," she added.