The Gujarat duo of Bhavina Patel and Sonalben Patel will lead India’s charge in table tennis at the Tokyo Paralympic Games which begin on August 25.
While Bhavina will compete in wheelchair category 4, Sonalben will compete in wheelchair category 3 in women’s singles. They will also be paired for the women’s doubles event.
Bhavina and Sonalben will be in action on opening day as they begin their qualifying rounds, which are scheduled to be held on August 25, 26 and 27. The semi-final and the final are scheduled for August 28-29.
Bhavina is currently world number 8 while Sonalben is ranked 19th. The pair, both Asian Games medalists, trained under coach Lalan Doshi at the Ahmedabad Blind Association.
In para taekwondo, India will only be represented by Aruna Tanwar, 21 years old. The Haryana-based athlete, who will compete in the women’s under 49kg K44 category, will be in action on September 2 from the round of 16.
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 medal at the World Para Taekwondo Championship in Turkey in 2019.
In para powerlifting, India sends Jai Deep and Sakina Khatun.
While West Bengal-born Sakina trained at the SAI National Center of Excellence in Bangalore, Haryana-based Jai Deep trained at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Rohtak.
Sakina, who will compete in the women’s up to 50kg category, became the only Indian Paralympian to win a Commonwealth Games medal when she captured a bronze medal in 2014 in Glasgow. She is also a silver medalist at the 2018 Para-Asian Games.
Sakina, who contracted polio as a child, began training in powerlifting in 2010 with financial support from Dilip Majumdar and her current trainer, Farman Basha.
Jai Deep, who competes in the men’s up to 65 kg category, is an assistant coach with the Sports Authority of India.
The duo will be in action in Tokyo during their respective finals on August 27.
All of these athletes are part of TOPS and have received government funding.