Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday congratulated Indian medallists at the recently-held Rio Paralympics, saying his government was working on bringing a proper scheme for the development of para-athletes. "Every citizen of the country developed an emotional attachment with our sportspersons in Paralympics. India is on the path to bring a proper scheme for Paralympics and its development," Modi said in his monthly radio broadcast "Mann ki Baat".
"The performance of our players at the Paralympics has completely changed our point of view towards 'Divyangs' (physically challenged) and 'humanity'," he said.
The Prime Minister said that 19 athletes, including three women, participated this year in Rio Paralympic Games and performed well. "Our players performed their best and won four medals at Paralympics, including two gold, one silver, and one bronze medals," he said in his 24th episode of "Mann ki Baat".
"Very few people know about the spectacular performance of 'Divyang' people at Paralympics. This time players at Paralympics broke the record of general Olympic players," he added.
Abdellatif Baka of Algeria won the 1,500-metre final setting not only a new Paralympic world record, but also as the fastest time in the category recorded by an able-bodied or disabled athlete in Rio in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, clocking 1.7 seconds less than the Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz.
As many as four para-athletes achieved quicker times than the Olympic Games gold medallist in the 1500m event.
"Algeria's Abdellatif Baka completed the 1500m race in 1.7 seconds less time than completed by the gold medal winner of the same segment in Olympic games this year," Modi said.
In Paralympics, India clinched four medals, including two golds. Javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia and high jumper Thangavelu Mariyappan won the top spot, while shot putter Deepa Malik and high jumper Varun Bhati won silver and bronze medals, respectively. Jhajharia won gold for the second time in his category in Rio, after the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, bettering his own world record with a throw of 63.97m. He is the first Indian para-athlete to win two gold medals at the Paralympics.