Gujarat duo of Bhavina Patel and Sonalben Patel will lead India’s charge in table tennis at the Tokyo Paralympic Games beginning August 25.
While Bhavina will participate in wheelchair class 4 category, Sonalben will compete in wheelchair class 3 category in women’s singles. They will also pair up for the women’s doubles event.
Bhavina and Sonalben will be in action on the opening day as they start their qualification rounds, which are scheduled to be held on August 25, 26 and 27. The semi-final and the final are slated for August 28 and 29.
Bhavina is currently world no 8 while Sonalben is ranked 19th. The duo, both medallist at the Asian Games, has been training under Coach Lalan Doshi at the Blind People’s Association in Ahmedabad.
In para taekwondo, India will be solely represented by 21-year-old Aruna Tanwar. The Haryana-based athlete, who will participate in the women’s under 49kg K44 category, will be in action on September 2 from the round-of-16 rounds.
Aruna, currently ranked 30th in the K44 category, is a silver medalist at the Asian Para Taekwondo Championship in Vietnam in 2018 as well as a bronze medallist at the World Para Taekwondo Championship in Turkey in 2019.
In para powerlifting, India is sending Jai Deep and Sakina Khatun.
While Sakina, born in West Bengal, has been training at the SAI National Center of Excellence in Bangalore, Haryana-based Jai Deep has been training at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Rohtak.
Sakina, who will participate in the women’s up to 50kg category, had become the only Indian woman paralympian to ever win a Commonwealth Games medal when she claimed a bronze in 2014 in Glasgow. She is also a 2018 Para Asian Games silver medallist.
Sakina, who contracted polio as a kid, started powerlifting training in 2010 with financial support from Dilip Majumdar and her current coach, Farman Basha.
Jai Deep, who is participating at the men’s up to 65kg category, is an assistant coach in the Sports Authority of India.
The duo will be in action in Tokyo in their respective final rounds on August 27.
All these athletes are part of TOPS and have received financial assistance from the Government.