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SBI-PCI deal to boost future of Paralympic movement in India: PCI official Gursharan Singh 

2020 Tokyo Paralympics - Day 12
2020 Tokyo Paralympics - Day 12
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Navneet Singh

Tokyo Paralympic Games champion Manish Narwal is among 30 promising youngsters selected for the State Bank of India (SBI) Foundation scheme. The champion in the pistol event is part of the program that aims to nurture para-athletes for the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games.

Haryana’s 19-year-old Manish won gold in the P4 mixed 50m pistol SH1 event at the Tokyo Paralympic Games last year in Japan.

Delhi’s wheelchair-bound Kashish Lakra,18 won gold in women’s club throw event at the 2021 Asian Youth Paralympics held in Bahrain in December. She has also been included in the scheme.

She also competed in the women’s club throw (F51 category) event at the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games held in Japan.

PCI's plan for Paralympic athletes in India

According to Gursharan Singh, secretary general of PCI, para-athletes have been selected from across India to support them to achieve their goals in the future.

“It is a long-term project, but we are expecting good results from all those selected under the project at the 2022 Asian Para Games,” Singh added.

The three-year agreement between the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) and SBI Foundation is expected to benefit para-athletes from various disciplines. It will include archery, athletics, shooting and swimming.

Under the agreement, all 30 selected para-athletes will receive a monthly scholarship. According to the PCI team management, the pocket allowance will enable aspiring para-athletes to financially support themselves.

“The para-athlete can spend the scholarship amount on their daily needs whether it is coaching or diet. Under the project the athletes are also allowed to purchase equipment for practice,” Singh explained.

Punjab’s 19-year-old para-badminton player Palak Kohli has also been shortlisted for future development projects at the SBI-PCI. Palak, who competes in the SU5 category, has been consistent at the international level since 2019.

Last year, the promising teenager made her debut at the Tokyo Paralympic Games in three events, including women’s singles (SU5 category).

India’s contingent at last year's 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games, won as many as 19 medals, five of them gold. The overall performance was the outcome of the hard work done by India's para-athletes.

“Post Tokyo Paralympic Games there has been a major shift in supporting para-athletes in India. We hope the SBI-PCI project will further give a fillip to the paralympic movement in India,” added Singh.

Edited by Diptanil Roy
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