Aruna Tanwar has created history as the first Indian taekwondo athlete to bag a Paralympics berth after getting a wildcard entry into the quadrennial Games. Tanwar's qualification for the Tokyo Paralympics comes in as good news for the fraternity after the Indian contingent missed the Paralympics Qualifiers due to COVID-19 travel restrictions imposed on the country.
A five-time national champion, Tanwar has been consistent over the last few years, making it a habit to finish on podiums. She has made her mark internationally too, having collected medals at both the Asian Para-Taekwondo Championships and the World Para-Taekwondo Championships.
Aruna Tanwar started playing taekwondo in 2010
Aruna Tanwar, who started playing taekwondo in 2010, is being coached by Ashok Kumar and Satish Dhull. Her selection should open the doors for more youngsters in the country, especially women athletes, according to Indian taekwondo president Namdev Shirgaonkar. He said in a media statement:
“It’s such a great beginning for Indian taekwondo. This is the first taekwondo athlete from India that has qualified for the Paralympics. This has opened the doors for all the aspiring athletes, especially all the female athletes, that want to be in this position."
Shirgaonkar also said that they are hopeful of Tanwar making it to the Tokyo Paralympics podium and has also recommended her name for the Target Olympics Podium Scheme (TOPS) for the necessary support.
Welcoming Aruna Tanwar’s entry into the Tokyo Paralympics, Paralympic Committee of India president Deepa Malik has said that she is optimistic about para sports slowly gaining traction among the federations. Malik was also the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic medal when she claimed the shot put silver in Rio de Janeiro.
“The integration of abled bodies athletes and para athletes is commendable owing to the collaboration and merge between PCI and India taekwondo. Other federations need to follow suit of India Taekwondo to create such great opportunities for athletes, especially female athletes,” she said.