Jakarta : India took over the podium in men’s high jump T42/63 category, claiming all the medals up for grabs with defending champion Sharad Kumar smashing two records to snare a second successive gold in the Asian Para Games here on Thursday. The 26-year-old world championships silver-medallist bettered the Asian as well as the Games record with a jump of 1.90m to claim the top honours. The T42/63 covers lower limb deficiency, leg length difference, impaired muscle power and impaired range of movement. The silver was claimed by Rio Paralympic bronze-medallist Varun Bhati (1.82m) and the bronze went to the Rio gold-medallist Thangavelu Mariyappan (1.67m). Bhati’s jump was his season’s best effort. Sharad, who hails from Bihar, suffered paralysis in his left leg at the age of two after being administered a spurious polio medicine at the local eradication drive.
He has been a former world number one. Earlier, Indian javelin thrower Sundar Singh Gurjar won a silver medal in the men’s F46 category where two-time Paralympic gold-medallist Devendra Jhajharia finished fourth. In the same event, Rinku picked up a bronze medal to make it an India-dominated podium. The F46 category of disability covers upper limb deficiency, impaired muscle power or impaired range of movement. India also logged a bronze in the men’s 400m T13 category with Avnil Kumar claiming the third position. The T13 classification deals with visual impairment. In javelin throw, Gurjar notched up his silver with an effort of 61.33m in his fifth attempt.
Gurjar trained for 22 days in Finland before the Games, an exercise that was backed by the Sports Authority of India (SAI). Rinku recorded a personal best of 60.92m for the bronze, while the gold went to Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Herath who smashed the Games as well as the Asian record with a throw of 61.84m. However, it was disappointment for Jhajharia, a silver-winner in the in the last Asian Para Games in Incheon. The veteran 37-year-old, a Khel Ratna awardee and the greatest Paralympian from India, produced his season’s best throw of 59.17m but finished well outside the medal bracket. In the men’s 400m race, Avnil Kumar clocked 52sec to fetch a bronze. The gold in this event was won by Iran’s Omid Zarifsanayei, who took 51.41sec to complete the race, while Thailand’s Songwut Lamsan. Kumar lost the silver to Lamsan by a fraction of a second.
Medals tumbled in for India in other track-and-field events as well with Anandan Gunasekram claiming the men’s 400m silver in the T44, 62/64 classification, while Vinay Kumar settled for a bronze. In the T45/46/47 classification for men’s 400m, Sandeep Maan fetched a bronze medal. Jayanti Behera clinched the women’s 400m silver in the T45/46/47 classification. Both the classifications deal with the upper limb deficiencies and leg length difference. In the women’s 400m classification that deals with visual impairment (T12), Radha Venkatesh took the bronze medal. In swimming, India fetched a bronze with Swapnil Patil finishing third in the men’s 400m freestyle S10. The S10 category covers visual impairment.