Asian Para Games: Paralympics Champion Sumit Antil Breaks World Record, Leads India’s 30-Medal Haul

Reigning Paralympics champion Sumit Antil on Wednesday bettered his own javelin throw F64 world record with a stunning 73.29m effort on way to winning gold as he led India’s whopping 30-medal haul on the third day of competitions at the Hangzhou Asian Para Games. India’s total medal count after three days stood at 64 (15 gold, 20 silver, 29 bronze) and they were placed at sixth spot, one down from Tuesday. China continued to consolidate at the top of the tally with 300 medals (118 gold, 96 silver, 86 bronze), followed by Iran (24, 30, 19), Japan (20, 21, 28), Thailand (20, 13, 30) and Uzbekistan (17, 17, 21).

It was the most productive day for India, with 17 out of the 30 medals and all the six gold coming from athletics.

The 25-year-old Antil broke his own previous world record of 70.83m which he had thrown while winning gold at the World Para Athletics Championships in Paris earlier this year.

Another Indian, Pushpendra Singh, won the bronze medal with a throw of 62.06m.

Antil, the reigning world champion, had won gold in the men’s javelin F64 event at the Tokyo Paralympic Games with a then world record throw of 68.55m.

The F64 category is for athletes with a leg amputation, who compete with prosthetics in a standing position.

Antil, who hails from Sonepat, lost his left leg below the knee after he was involved in a motorbike accident in 2015 when he was 17.

A graduate from Delhi’s Ramjas College, Antil was an able-bodied wrestler before the accident. A para athlete in his village initiated him to javelin throw in 2018. He got his initial inspiration from double Paralympic gold medallist javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia.

Antil also competed against Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra in an able-bodied event — Indian Grand Prix 3 — in March 2021.

Ankur Dhama became the first Indian to win two gold medals in a single edition of the Asian Para Games as he clinched the top spot in men’s T11 1500m race with a time of 4:27.70. He had also won a gold in men’s men’s T11 5000m race on Tuesday.

Another Indian, Sundar Singh Gurjar, also set a new world record in the men’s F46 javelin throw as he sent his spear to a distance of 68.60m en route to winning the gold. The earlier world record of 67.79m was in the name of Dinesh Mudiyanselage Herath of Sri Lanka.

In fact, Indians swept all the three medals in the men’s F46 javelin throw event with Rinku (67.08m) and Ajeet Singh (63.52m) winning silver and bronze respectively.

It was 1-2 for the Indians in the women’s T11 1500m event with Rakshitha Raju (5:21.45) and Killaka Lalitha (5:48.85) taking gold and silver respectively. Rakshitha had won a gold in the same event in the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta.

Haney and Nimisha Suresh Chakkungalparambil added gold medals in men’s F37/38 javelin throw and women’s T47 long jump events.

Haney produced a Games record of 55.97m while Nimisha cleared 5.15m to take India’s gold medal tally to 15.

Pooja won a silver in women’s F54/55 discus throw with an effort 18.17m while Narayan Thakur and Shreyansh Trivedi picked up a bronze each in men’s T35 200m and T37 200m with times of 29.83 and 25.26 respectively.

The Indians finished second and third in both the men’s T13 1500m race and men’s F47 shot put events.

Sharath Shankarappa Makanahalli (4:13.60) and Balwant Singh Rawat (4:20.58) clinched silver and bronze while Rana Soman (14.42) and Hokato Hotozhe Sema (13.94) finished second and third respectively.

In para table tennis, Tokyo Paralympics silver medallist Bhavina Patel won a bronze in women’s singles Class 4 after she lost to Gu Xiaodan of China 1-3 (7-11 11-6 6-11 7-11) in the semifinal. Sandeep Dangi added another bronze in men’s singles class 1.

India won three medals in para archery — two silver and a bronze. Armless archers Sheetal Devi and Sarita won a silver medal after losing 150-152 to the Chinese pair of Lin Yueshan and Zhang Lu.

The other silver was won by men’s doubles compound pair of Rakesh Kumar and Suraj Singh after they lost 150-155 to the Chinese duo of Ai Xinliang and He Zihao.

Harvinder Singh and Sahil won a bronze in men’s doubles recurve event after beating the Thai pair of Hanreuchai Netsiri and Pornchai Phimthong 6-0. Harvinder had won a bronze medal in the Tokyo Paralympics and a gold in the 2018 Asian Para Games.

In para badminton, India clinched six bronze medals — Manasi Joshi and Mandeep Kaur (both women’s singles SL3), Vaishnavi Puneyani (women’s singles SL4), Pramod Bhagat/Manisha Ramdass and Nitesh Kumar/Thulasimathi Murugesan (both mixed doubles SL3-SU5) and Sivarajan Solaimalai/Sivan Sumathy (mixed doubles SH6) — all of them after losing their semifinal matches.

In para powerlifting, Zainab Khatun and Rajkumari won a siver and a bronze respectively in the women’s 61kg category. Khatun lifted 85kg while Rajkumari had a successful effort of 84kg.

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