It was time for Indians to rejoice as high jumpers Praveen Kumar and Nishad Kumar earned gold for the country and also set new Asian records as the finals of the 12th Fazza World Para Athletics Grand Prix.
Both the high jumpers displayed extraordinary skill and earned high points in the final day of competition for India, who also had three silver and bronze medals on Saturday, to finish their championship campaign with 23 medals.
India concluded the tournament as top medal finishers with Thailand coming home with 34 medals, while Turkey, Kenya and India finished with 23 medals. The UAE hosts finished with 14 medals, including two silver medals, by their paralympic mid-distance runner Mohammed Al Hammadi.
After an Indian javelin thrower show on Day 3, hopes were high from the high jumpers, and they didn’t disappoint.
Eighteen-year-old Praveen’s 2.05m jump was enough to create a new Asian record and win him gold in the men’s F42/44/64 high jump event. He finished ahead of former Asian Para Games gold medalist and fellow Indian Sharad Kumar (1.76 m) and Hamada Hassan who also cleared the 1.76m bar.
“I managed a very good jump today. I am very happy that I got my personal best here. After so long I was competing, so I was a bit nervous. But all my hard work paid off here today. Also thanks to my coach Satyapal Sir who has been guiding me in my training,” said the 2019 World Junior Silver Medalist.
“I want to win the gold at Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. I will need to work very hard to achieve my target,” he said.
This was Praveen’s first senior international gold in his second senior event after the Dubai 2019 Worlds, where he had scored his fourth-place finish.
In one of the last events of the day, Nishad, who had already made a quota for India with his bronze medal finish at the Dubai 2019 Worlds, jumped to his personal best of 2.06 m for gold and an Asian record in the men’s high jump event T46/47.
After more than a year’s break, the championship was also the season opener for Para Athletics, so a strong showing would certainly raise their morale. We are happy that our athletes have delivered what was expected of them,” she said.
Earlier, Simran earned her second medal in the championship – a silver medal in the women’s 400m final T13 race that crossed the finish line in 1:01.56 minutes. Simran already had a gold medal in the women’s 100m T13.
Bhagyashri Mahavr Jadhav won the silver in women’s shot put the F34 event at 6.18 m, placing second in Morocco’s Saida Amoudi (8.33 m).
Atul Kaushik won bronze in the men’s F57 event, clearing a distance of 42.00 m.