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'From sympathy to pride': Indian Women Para-athletes Highlight Change In Society's View Of Them At Meeting With PM

Meeting with India's most successful Paralympian delegation, PM Modi lauded the Paralympians for uplifting the morale of the nation and breaking the stereotypes

IMAGE: PIB


Meeting with India's most successful Paralympian delegation, PM Modi lauded the Paralympians for uplifting the morale of the nation and breaking the stereotypes. Thanking the PM for encouraging sports, female para-athletes said that their medal matches had now changed society's view from sympathy to pride. Dedicating her two medal wins, India's ace shooter Avani Lekhara said that the medals came by itself as she gave her 100%. India's 54-member paralympic contingent won 19 medals in Tokyo- the nation's highest ever medal tally in Paralympics.  

Female para-athletes thank PM Modi

"When I was in finals I remembered your words on giving 100 percent and not to take any mental pressure. I gave my 100%, the medal came by itself. I dedicate these 2 medals to all Indians," said Avani Lekhara in her interaction with PM Modi.

Thanking PM Modi for giving her an opportunity, Kashish Lakra - India's youngest Paralympian - said, "I am 17 years old and I became a para-athlete 3 years ago. With the help of my coach, I became India's youngest Paralympian and got an opportunity to meet you. When you became PM in 2014, I was 11 years old. I was so happy and I told my mother to arrange to meet you. She told me to do something in life to make that happen".

Meanwhile, vowing to better her performance, Para-badminton player Palak Kohli said,"Our bronze medal fight was a very close one. Unfortunately, we lost the Bronze match very closely 21-23, 19-21, but definitely, we will come back stronger". In reply PM Modi asked, "I saw your mother was very emotional after the match. What did she tell you?". Kohli revealed, "She was proud that now people know me. The society which used to sympathise me and now see my journey as a triumph".

Another Paralympian said, "My village is celebrating today. Not because I won a medal but because I was meeting you (PM Modi) today". PM Modi highlighted the importance of the Paralympians' victory saying, "You have changed the entire nation's atmosphere. You may have thought that you were defeating just an individual in a match, but it was much more. You were the epicentre of India then".

India's medal rush in Tokyo Paralympics

Hauling its highest medal tally ever, India finished 27th in Paralympics 2020 with five were gold medals, eight were silver medals, and six were bronze medals. The gold medalists for India were Avani Lekhara (Shooting- Air rifle), Pramod Bhagat (Badminton), Sumit Antil (Javelin Throw), Manish Narwal (Shooting - Pistol), and Krishna Nagar (Badminton). Meanwhile, the silver medal winners were Bhavani Patel (Table tennis), Singhraj Adhana (Shooting - air pistol), Yogesh Kathuniya (Discus throw), Nishad Kumar (High jump), Mariyappan Thangavelu (High jump), Praveen Kumar (High jump), Devendra Jhajharia (Javelin throw), and Suhas Yathiraj (Badminton). The list of bronze medal winners includes Avani Lekhara  (Shooting- Air rifle), Harvinder Singh (Recurve - open archery), Sharad Kumar (High jump), Sundar Singh Gurjar (Javelin throw), Manoj Sarkar (Badminton), and Singhraj Adhana (Shooting - air pistol).

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