What a performance it has been by India at these Games. India will remember these Games for some time. With four medals in the bag, it has been India’s best-ever Games. The truth is that India have not won these many medals at any of the Games, Paralympics or Olympics. Rio set a great example for us that we learnt to believe in the power of Indian athletes. It has been that sort of Games that the athletes have shined and more importantly, we have seen that the Paralympics too can be put in the headlines. We hope that it is not a first and there can some sort of a sporting movement in India where these athletes can do it over and over again.
We saw that the country expected a lot from the athletes in Rio and when they did not get more than two medals, there was some disappointment and rightly so. But why look at these Games only when they are happening? What about the support otherwise? Will anyone care about that? These are important questions that need swift answers. Then probably India can say that they have arrived.
We also know that one way or the other, cricket will take the stage as it often does in India. With just four days to go for a big Test series to begin, we will forget everything else. And may be because of that, there is a problem. There is lack of consistent support for multiple sports and that is not a very healthy sign. One has to say that it may change but for that steps have to be taken. For now, enjoy the Games while the last. They only come once in four years which is not frequent. (Rio Paralympics stages final show in shadow of tragedy)
Rio Paralympics 2016 are underway later today for one last day and we can tell you that the 19 athletes who have formed the Indian contingent at these Games are among the very best. Here we look at the Indian performance at the Games over the years. India first took part in these Games in 1968. It was the third edition of the Paralympics. Since then, India have taken part in each of the Games (except in 1976 and 1980).
Now let us look at the medals. India have won 12 medals at the Paralympics thus far. Among them are four gold, four silver and four bronze. There is absolutely no doubt that the Paralympics are not just a beautiful story in sport in general but also one for human spirit and we hope that the Indian athletes get all the support possible.
It is a shame that in 2012, there was a controversy regarding India at the Paralympics. This when there was news that the coaches and the escorts of the athletes were badly treated by the Indian officials. We hope that in Rio as things are about to end, we can just applaud the spirit of the athletes and do not get to hear anything as far as any controversy is concerned.
India’s most successful sport at the Games has been athletics where they have won 10 medals. Meanwhile, a medal each has come from swimming and powerlifting. We hoped that our athletes could put up a great show this time but we know that the fact that they are there in Rio says a lot about the spirit they have.
India are yet to take part in any of the winter Paralympics and we hope that it changes. There is absolutely no doubt that the sporting structure in India is not the best and we hope that the officials are doing everything to put that in order.
These Games are sadly not being televised in India and that unfortunately is not a great step when you are looking at promoting sport and this in a country that has numerous channels dedicated to only sport. We would have loved to see the athletes in action on television in these Games.
For now we can promise you that one should follow the Games with attention online because you will get to know some beautiful stories, stories of sporting excellence and more importantly human spirit. It does not get better than that.