Tokyo Paralympics will be our best ever Games: chef de mission Gursharan Singh


India’s Chef de Mission for the 2020 Paralympic Games, Gursharan Singh, on Friday said that the country will bag at least 15 medals, including five gold, in Tokyo and added that “this will be our best ever Games”.

Singh, who is the secretary-general of the Paralympic Committee of India, was nominated as the chef de mission of the Indian team at the AGM of the governing body.

“I am confident that this would be our best ever Paralympic Games. Our para-athletes have worked very hard in the past years and shown great results in international competitions. They are raring to go at the Games.

“We are expecting around 15 medals, including five gold at the Games. We have high medal hopes in athletics, badminton, shooting and archery,” Singh said.

India has a total of 12 medals, including four gold, in 11 Paralympic appearances.

In Tokyo, India will field the largest contingent ever with 54 para athletes set to compete in nine sports including — archery, athletics, badminton, canoeing, shooting, swimming, powerlifting, table tennis and taekwondo.

Badminton and canoeing are making their debut at the Tokyo 20 Paralympics.

The first batch of Indian players has arrived in Tokyo, with the CDM already in Tokyo to oversee the arrangements.

T Mariyappan, who is India’s flag bearer at the Games, has also arrived in Tokyo and there will be a lot of expectations from the high jumper to clinch his second Paralympic gold in Tokyo.

Meanwhile, shooting coach JP Nautiyal was upbeat about the shooters’ chances, mentioning Avani Lekhara, Singhraj and Manish Narwal as India’s best medal prospects.

“We have a balanced team with young and senior players and many of them are coming up with excellent scores during training that has been ongoing since last month. It has been a great journey for the entire team, which has shown great results in the last few years,” said Nautiyal.

World No. 1 and multiple-time world champion Pramod Bhagat will lead India’s badminton contingent with gold medal hopes resting on him in the men’s SL3 event. Among others, world No. 2 shuttler Krishna Nagar (SH6) and Tarun Dhillon (SL4) are other para shuttlers who are expected to do well.

In archery, India will have Rakesh Kumar and Shyam Sundar (compound), Vivek Chikara and Harvinder Singh (recurve) and woman archer Jyoti Baliyan (compound individual/mixed event).