High jumper Nishad Kumar and discus thrower Vinod Kumar clinched a silver and a bronze respectively with Asian records as India began collecting what is expected to be an unprecedented haul of athletics medals in the Paralympics here on Sunday.
The 21-year-old Nishad, who is a farmer's son in Himachal Pradesh's Amb town, cleared 2.06m to win the silver in T47 class before 41-year-old BSF man Vinod, whose father fought in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, produced a best throw of 19.91m to clinch a bronze in F52 event.
The two athletics medals came after Bhavinaben Patel gave India its first medal in the Games by grabbing a silver in the women's singles table tennis class 4 event.
The 24-member Indian athletics team is hoping for a rich haul of medals -- at least 10 -- and the double success on Sunday gave the country enough reasons to smile on the National Sports Day.
Nishad, whose right hand got cut by a grass-cutting machine at his family's farm when he was an eight-year-old boy, cleared the same height of 2.06m with American Dallas Wise who was also awarded a silver.
Another American, Roderick Townsend, won the gold with a world record jump of 2.15m.
The second Indian in the fray, Ram Pal, finished fifth with a best jump of 1.94m.
T47 class is meant for athletes with a unilateral upper limb impairment resulting in some loss of function at the shoulder, elbow and wrist.
Nishad had also contracted COVID-19 earlier this year while training at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru.
"Absolutely delighted that Nishad Kumar wins the Silver medal in Men's High Jump T47. He is a remarkable athlete with outstanding skills and tenacity. Congratulations to him," tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Nishad had won a gold medal in the men's high jump T46/47 event at the Fazza World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Dubai earlier this year. He began competing in para athletics in 2009.
Vinod also set an Asian record while winning the bronze medal. Piotr Kosewicz (20.02m) of Poland and Velimir Sandor (19.98m) of Croatia won the silver and bronze respectively.
He injured his legs while training after joining the BSF, falling off a cliff in Leh that left him bed-ridden for close to a decade during which he lost both his parents.
The F52 classification is for athletes with impaired muscle power, restricted range of movement, limb deficiency or leg length difference, with athletes competing in seated position.
It also applies to cervical cord injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, and functional disorder.
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