The Sports Ministry of India has declared that it will recommend Thangavelu Mariyappan, Devendra Jhajharia, Deepa Malik and Varun Singh Bhati for the Padma Awards. The medallists from the Rio Paralympics 2016 deserved more recognition for their achievements and the Padma awards will be a definite step towards that.
Sports Minister Vijay Goel declared the news on a social networking site today in a bid to popularise the para-athletes.
India who had sent their largest ever contingent in the Rio Paralympics performed commendably well. The 19-member squad won four medals, two of which are gold, one a silver and another bronze one earlier this month.
Para-athletes Mariyappan Thangavelu, Varun Singh Bhati, and Sharad Kumar are ranked world number 1, 2 and 3 in High Jump in the T-42 category and had achieved for the country what no other athlete had before.This was the first time in the history of Indian sports that the country held the top three ranks in the world. And yet, little or no fuss was made about this remarkable achievement. Clearly, they do not get enough recognition and should be the
Thangavelu Mariyappan (High Jump) won the gold medal in his event. Devendra Jhajharia (Javelin Throw) broke his own longstanding world record to secure the gold medal in Javelin throw and made history by becoming the first Indian ever to win two individual Gold medals . Shot putter Deepa Malik had claimed a silver whileVarun Singh Bhati (High Jump) had won a bronze medal.
The Paralympics was not broadcasted on a single Indian channel and not many Indians were able to track the progress of the athletes and many Indians are not even aware of their feats. The Sports Ministry promised to recommend the names to the Ministry of Home Affairs in a bid to give the athletes some much-needed recognition.
Indian Prime Minister who had earlier urged his fellow countrymen to support the athletes at the Paralympics hosted the athletes at his residence. The civilians also received the para-athletes on their return to the country after a successful campaign and gave them a warm welcome.
The Paralympic contingent convincingly outperformed the country's Olympic one at Rio earlier this year. This easily showcases that we need to focus our resources more judiciously on garnering better results.