New Delhi, Dec 9 (IANS): First-ever Khelo India Para Games 2023 is ready to kick off as over 1400 inspiring para athletes will participate in the event taking place from December 10 to 17.
The week-long sporting extravaganza will symbolise inclusivity, showcase human spirit and camaraderie.
Seven disciplines including para athletics, para shooting, para archery, para football, para badminton, para table tennis and para weight lifting will be held across three iconic venues in the city witness 32 states and Union Territories including Services Sports Promotion Board vie for honours in a congregation that promises to unearth fresh talent who will headline the future of para sports in the country.
Over 1350 participants from across 32 states and union territories including Services Sports Control Board are expected to participate in the maiden Khelo India Para Games which will witness para athletes vie for honours in 7 disciplines including para athletics, para shooting, para archery, para football, para badminton, para table tennis and para weight lifting. The events will be held across 3 SAI stadiums – the IG Stadium, Shooting Range in Tughlaqabad and the JLN Stadium.
Hosts Delhi, Rajasthan and Haryana are pegged to push other states in all disciplines to top the medal tally while the presence of established para stars promises a unique and first-of-its-kind experience for Delhi’s sports enthusiasts who can watch these awe-inspiring athletes live in action.
The Khelo India Para Games comes on the back of some stupendous international success by Indian para athletes. With a record haul of 111 medals, including 29 gold medals and a credible fifth place finish, the para athletes scripted their best showing ever in the history of Asian Para Games at Hangzhou. This was India’s best ever performance as compared to the previous best of ninth in 2018 and 15th in 2014.
The opening day will witness para badminton stars take centre stage at the Indira Gandhi Stadium with seasoned ace Pramod Bhagat representing Odisha, while Krishna Nagar, Manasi Joshi, Sukant, Manisha Ramdas will also be seen representing their respective states.
In athletics, which commence on December 11 at the JLN Stadium, Himachal Pradesh’s para high jumper Nishad Kumar, Karnataka’s Rio Paralympics gold medallist Mariyappan Thangavelu, Sundar Gurjar, Ankur Dhama, Shailesh Kumar and Praveen will be seen in action.
In para powerlifting, scheduled to begin on December 12 at the JLN Stadium, Hangzhou bronze medallist Ashok from Haryana will be in focus along with Pramjeet. Shooting too commences on December 12 at the Karni Singh Shooting Range where Manish Narwal, Singhraj Adhana, Rudransh Khandelwal and Rubina Francis will have their eyes set on the podium.
In table tennis, starting on December 14 at the IG Stadium, will see para star Bhavina Patel from Gujarat lead the charge along with Sonal Patel while CP Football will begin on 14th December at the JLN Stadium.
With the Khelo India Para Games, the union government aims to provide continuity for the aspiring para athletes who will be recognised basis their talent and performance during these Games and also stand a chance to make the cut as TOPS athlete.