Sharad Kumar, Mariyappan Qualify for Tokyo Paralympics

India’s top ranked para high-jumpers Sharad Kumar and Mariyappan Thangavelu sealed two more quota berths for 2020 Paralympics with a silver and a bronze medal on the penultimate day of the World Para Athletics Championships.

Sharad Kumar, a two-time Asian games gold medalist, started the proceedings for India as he won a silver with his season best effort of 1.83 m.

Sharad was followed by country’s most celebrated para high jumper Mariyappan on the podium after he failed to cross the mark of 1.83 m in his final attempt.

The Rio Olympic gold medalist ended the day with his season best height of 1.80 to settle for bronze. The gold went to American Paralympic high jumper Sam Grewe, a two time World championship gold medalist, who stayed on top with a mark of 1.86 m which is also a new record in the championship.

After booking the Olympic quota, Sharad in conversation with the Paralympic Committee of India expressed his disappointment. He said he was not happy with his performance as he expected to perform better.

The 27-year old added that for the past three years he had been training in Ukraine in harsh condition and this result did not satisfy him. He further said that now he would have to re-plan his schedule and re-plan many other things to dish out a better performance.

Mariyappan also looked unhappy after finishing third on the podium as he said he could not perform his best. However, the Rio champion looked confident of performing well in Tokyo 2020 as he said he wanted to live up to the expectations of his coach Satyanarayana.

In the same event, India’s Ramsingh Padhiya could only manage a fifth place finish with an effort of 1.77 m.

Earlier on the second last day of the tournament, Lal Vinay Kumar, the Asian Para Games bronze-medalist, bettered his fourth place finish in 2017 edition of the tournament as he took the bronze in men’s 400 m T44 event with a time of 55.49 seconds . Courtesy his third place finish, Vinay also booked a Tokyo 2020 spot.

India finished with nine medals including two gold, two silver and five bronze at the end of the penultimate day of World Para Athletics Championships.

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