Dubai, February 13: Para-athletes Navdeep and Arvind secured quotas for the upcoming Tokyo Paralympics as India's gold medal tally swelled to nine after the third day of competitions at the 12th Fazza International World Para Athletics Grand Prix here. Overall, India has claimed 17 medals including nine gold, with four of them coming on Friday.
The day was lit up by brilliant shows by Indian men's javelin throwers -- reigning world champion Sandeep Chaudhary (F44), Ajeet Singh (F46) and Navdeep (F41) -- who were later joined by Pranav Prashant Desai with a yellow metal in men's 200m F64.
However, world champion javelin thrower Sundar Singh Gurjar (F46) had to settle for a bronze. Arvind attained the Minimum Qualification Standard with a distance of 14.05m in men's shot put final F35/36 to book a place in the Tokyo Paralympics. He finished fifth in the event.
Navdeep, whose first international event was the 2017 Asian Youth Para Games, produced a brilliant throw of 43.58m in his third attempt to take the gold in men's javelin F41 event and secure a quote for the next Paralympic Games. UAE's Anas Alhosani (6.96m) ended second.
"I felt confident with my throw today. My first throw wasn't very good, but then I tried to focus and got a good throw. Sandeep bhaiya and Navdeep Sir have been helping me with my technique at JN Stadium in New Delhi," said Navdeep. "I am very happy to also secure a quota. I want to win a medal at the Tokyo Paralympic now," he added.
In F41 classification, athletes with short stature compete while the F35/36 is for those who are more affected in the legs than the arms, but may also have significant co-ordination impairment of the non-throwing arm.
In men's javelin 38/F42/ F44/ 63/ 64, Chaudhary hurled the javelin to a distance of 61.22 metres to win gold, though it was much less than his world record effort of 66.18m at the Dubai 2019 Worlds at the same ground. He was better than Columbia's Luis Fernan Lucumi Villegas (54.95m), who set a new American record, and Chaminda Hetti Arachchige of Sri Lanka (56.34m).
"It's a nice feeling to return to one of my favourite grounds. My body felt good to compete after a long time. But I was hoping to get my personal best today. Nevertheless, to open the season with over 61m distance is not bad," Chaudhary said.
"In the coming months, it will be more about following the process and staying in shape before we start our final preparation for the Tokyo 2020," added Chaudhary.
Ajeet Singh sent the spear to a distance of 58.76m to finish ahead of Sri Lanka's Gamini Ketawala (58.55m) and fellow Indian Gurjar (57.74m) in men's javelin F46 final. For Ajeet, this was his third international medal in third competition.
"I am very happy to compete in an international event after long time. But I am not to satisfied with my performance today. I expected to throw at least 58 metres. I will go back and work on my technique now," Ajit said.
Later, Pranav Prasant Desai added India's fourth gold medal by clocking 24.96 seconds in men's 200m T64 to finish ahead of Thailand (25.60s) and Kazakastan's Rufat Khabibullin (28.86s).
Athletes in 38/F42/ F44/ 63/ 64 category are affected by one or more of the musculoskeletal impairments of limb deficiency, leg length difference, impaired muscle power or impaired passive range of movement. The third day of competitions also witnessed Italian teenager Ambra Sabatini setting a new world record on the way to a gold in the women's final T62/ 63/ 64. She clocked 14.59 seconds.
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