World Para Athletics bans India’s wheelchair-bound athlete Vinod Kumar for two years for intentionally misrepresenting disabilities

Vinod Kumar participated in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics
Vinod Kumar participated in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics

India’s international para-athlete Vinod Kumar of Haryana has been suspended for two years by World Para Athletics. The step was taken after he intentionally misrepresented his physical disabilities during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The news was conveyed via national para-athletics coach Satyanarayana.

The Indian athlete's two-year suspension starts from August 2021 until August 2023. Kumar competed in men’s discus throw in the F52 wheelchair category at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games held last year in Japan. He won bronze, but was later disqualified during a review of his classification, Satyanarayana added.

“Being chief coach of the Indian para-athletics team at the Tokyo Paralympic Games, I was a witness during the review of Kumar’s classification,” Satyanarayana said. “Kumar didn’t cooperate with the review panel during his classification at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Thus, he was banned by the World Para Athletics.”

World Para Athletics said in a statement on its website on Tuesday:

“Board of Appeal of Classification (BAC) has imposed a two-year ban on Kumar. The Indian wheelchair para-athlete will not be eligible to compete until August 2023."

BAC is an independent body that considers, and when appropriate, conducts hearings regarding classification appeals in Para Athletics, among other sports.

Kumar's bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics has been cancelled by World Para Athletics

Satyanarayana, India’s chief coach at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games held last year in Japan, said that Kumar was allotted the F53 category in 2019 in the domestic competition. However, at the 2019 Grand Prix meeting in Paris, Kumar was classified in the F52 category by the World Para Athletics classification panel

“Between 2019 and 2021, Kumar competed in several F52 competitions at the world level,” the Indian para-athletics coach said. “Kumar’s bronze medal was cancelled at the Tokyo Paralympic Games as he failed to prove his disability during a review of classification.”

The World Para Athletics said further in their statement:

“World Para Athletics commenced disciplinary proceedings with the BAC after Kumar intentionally misrepresented his abilities when he was presented for classification at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games,”

It went on to state:

“The athlete was observed performing several movements and functions in the competition which were not consistent with his performance during the physical and technical aspects of classification.”

According to Satyanarayana, Kumar filed a submission in response to BAC panel on November 20, 2021 and February 11, 2022. But his appeal was turned down by the BAC.

“The athletes should cooperate with the classification panel to ensure fair competition and protect the integrity of the sport,” Satyanarayana added.

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Edited by Diptanil Roy
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