India amassed an impressive 17 medals, including seven gold On Friday with the shuttlers making the most significant contribution, clinching eight medals, including four gold.
As the Hangzhou Asian Para Games entered its final day, India stood at the sixth position in the overall standings, boasting 25 gold, 29 silver, and 45 bronze medals. The top positions were held by China (196 gold, 159 silver, 138 bronze), Japan (39, 44, 56), Iran (39, 39, 37), Korea (28, 30, 37), and Indonesia (26, 21, 32).
In terms of the total number of medals, India held the fourth position. The nation had already surpassed its previous highest Asian Para Games medal tally of 72 medals (15 gold, 24 silver, 33 bronze) achieved during the 2018 edition.
India is now on the cusp of achieving a remarkable milestone by securing 100 medals in the Hangzhou Asian Para Games.
The para athletes are set to emulate their able-bodied counterparts who had won a record haul of 107 medals in the Hangzhou Asian Games held from September 23 to October 8.
Sheetal clinched the women’s individual compound gold on Friday to add to the yellow metal she won in the compound mixed team event on Thursday.
In fact, it is a hat-trick of medals for the 16-year-old from Jammu and Kashmir, who holds her bow with her foot. She had also won a silver in the women’s doubles compound event.
Sheetal was born with phocomelia syndrome, a rare congenital disorder which kept limbs underdeveloped.
Discovered at a military camp in a remote part of Kishtwar and adopted by the Indian Army in her childhood, Sheetal, who became the first armless woman to win a Para World Archery Championships medal in July, defeated Singapore’s Alim Nur Syahidah 144-142 in the gold medal match.
Ankur Dhama had become the first Indian to win two gold medals in a single edition earlier this week.
Another Indian archer, Rakesh Kumar defeated Iran’s Alisin Manshaezadeh in 144(10)-144(9) in a shoot-off to win the silver medal in men’s compound event.
Reigning Paralympic champion shuttler Pramod Bhagat secured a gold medal in the single SL3 category as he outplayed compatriot Nitesh Kumar 22-20, 21-19 in the final.
“Firstly a huge congratulations to Nitesh Kumar, I think he played the game of his life, but unfortunately ended up with a silver. He is a brilliant player and pushes me till the edge which he did today,” said Bhagat.
“Somehow even when I was trailing, I had a belief that I would make a comeback and could win, the thought of losing never occurred to me. I focused on 1 point at a time and made it possible,” he added.
Tokyo Paralympics silver medallist IAS officer Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj bettered his bronze from the last edition by winning gold in the SL4 final.
Thulasimathi Murugesan warded off the challenge posed by local shuttler Yang Qiuxia by eking out a 21-19, 21-19 win to clinch the coveted yellow metal in the women’s SU5 final.
In the men’s doubles SL3-SLF4, Nitesh and Tarun won the gold, while Thulasmathi combined with Manasi Joshi to win silver in women’s doubles SL3-SU5, losing to Khalimatus Sadiyah and Leani Ratri Oktila of Indonesia 16-21, 21-13, 14-21 in the final.
Reigning Paralympic champion Krishna Nagar settled for a silver as he went down fighting 10 -21, 21-8, 11-21 against Hong Kong’s Chu Man Kai in the men’s SH6 final.
The Indian men’s SU5 men’s doubles pair of Chirag Baretha and Raj Kumar also added a silver after losing to Hafizh Briliansyah and Dheva Anrimusthi of Indonesia 11-21, 21-19, 11-21 in the final.
Badminton competitions ended on Friday and the shuttlers contributed 21 medals (4 gold, 4 silver, 13 bronze) to India’s tally, the second highest after athletics — which has contributed 51 so far.
In athletics, which contributed six medals on Friday, Raman Sharma and Dharamraj Solairaj picked up a gold medal each in men’s 1500m T38 and long jump T64 events.
Raman reigned supreme in his event with a new Asian and Games record time of 4:20.80s, while Dharamraj also broke the same two records by clearing a distance of 6.80m.
Javelin throwers Pradeep Kumar (25.94m) and Laxit (21.20m) clinched the silver and bronze medals in the F54 event with personal best efforts.
Discus thrower Lakshmi too found a place on the podium as she bagged the bronze medal with a personal best effort of 22.55m in the women’s F37.38. Manu also won a bronze medal in the men’s shot put F37 event with a personal best effort of 14.09m.
Suyash Narayan Jadhav won India’s first medal in swimming in Hangzhou as he picked up a bronze in men’s 50m butterfly S7, clocking 32.22 seconds.
(With PTI Inputs)