By Anuj MishraNew Delhi [India], August 12 (ANI): Deepa Malik, the Rio Paralympics silver medallist, has backed the Indian contingent going to the Tokyo Paralympics to create history. India is sending its largest-ever contingent to the Paralympic Games in Tokyo -- 54 para-sportspersons across nine sports disciplines.
Deepa Malik, the President of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI), was quick to point out that the rise in the number of athletes' participation has made the contingent "stronger".
"That itself depicts how strong the contingent is going to be, especially when we have at least 24 of our 54 athletes in top three rankings in the indigenous local trials within India," an elated Deepa told ANI.
"When we talk about para-badminton, shooting they are seeded in top rankings, so I am very very hopeful that this is a very strong contingent and is going to create history this time.
"I have worked very hard with the athletes in the role of the president and I am very proud to accompany the athletes," she added.
The PCI president feels the para-athletes have become accustomed to the new normal and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic won't hamper the players' performance during the Tokyo Games.
"The current set of athletes have become accustomed to the new normal. In the last two years they have been training, winning their games and securing their rankings on top three positions despite the COVID-19 challenges," Deepa pointed out before giving a virtual send-off to the Indian para-athletes.
Neeraj Chopra has brought the javelin throw event to the centrestage after his sensational show in Tokyo Olympics. The Rio Paralympics silver medallist has high hopes from the para-athletes who will participate in the javelin throw event. She feels India will go one step ahead and could bring multiple golds in the event leave alone the total medals.
"Absolutely," replied Deepa when asked about Devendra Jhajaria prospects, who has two gold in the Paralympics.
She further said, "Our javelin arm is so strong we have eight javelin throwers and I'll be least surprised if we have multiple golds only in javelin throws along with world records.
"I am really keeping my fingers crossed and I wish all the best to Devendra it was wonderful to win a medal alongside him in Rio Olympics. I'm rooting for every athlete," Deepa signed off.
The Tokyo Paralympic Games is scheduled to be held between August 24 and September 5. India will start its campaign on August 27 with men's and women's archery events. (ANI)