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Tokyo Paralympics: Indian medallists return home to tumultuous welcome

Indian para athletes, including javelin throw gold medallist Sumit Antil, on Friday returned home to a never-seen-before boisterous welcome.

PTI PTI
New Delhi Published on: September 03, 2021 18:30 IST
Javelin throw gold medallist Sumit Antil
Image Source : PTI

Javelin throw gold medallist Sumit Antil

Indian para athletes, including javelin throw gold medallist Sumit Antil, on Friday returned home to a never-seen-before boisterous welcome during which supporters and media jostled to catch a glimpse of them at the airport here.

Chaotic scenes unfolded at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here as fans and an army of media-persons disregarded COVID-19 protocols, jostling for space to get hold of the four para athletes, especially Sumit.

Apart from Sumit, three-time Paralympic medallist javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia, who won a silver this time, silver-medallist in discus throw Yogesh Kathuniya and Sharad Kumar, who won bronze in high jump, were also given a warm welcome in the morning.

"Our Champions are back home and is overjoyed at their arrival. Love & wishes are pouring in for @sumit_javelin @DevJhajharia @YogeshKathuniya @sharad_kumar01," Sports Authority of India (SAI) wrote in a tweet.

The four athletes were welcomed enthusiastically by SAI officials, who garlanded them and presented them with bouquets on arrival. Silver medallist high jumper, Mariyappan Thangavelu, who arrived in the evening, also met with a similar reception.

Thangavelu who had won the gold at the Rio Paralympics was welcomed to the sounds of dhol amid media frenzy as the 26-year-old struggled to get to his car.

Earlier, the four athletes, displaying their medals, posed for photographs inside the airport even as fans waved the tricolour and played drums to celebrate their medal winning feats outside.

Supporters, many of them without masks, looked to outpace each other in garlanding the four athletes as they walked out of the airport even.

Sumit, 23, had smashed his world record five times for the F64 class gold, while Jhajharia, a two-time gold medallist, cemented his status of being India's greatest para-athlete with a F46 category silver.

Kathuniya won a discus throw silver in F56 class, while Thangavelu and Sharad claimed the silver and bronze respectively in the T42 high jump event.

India's medal tally at the Games has soared to an unprecedented 13 already, including two gold medals. This is the first time that the country has hit the double digit mark at the showpiece. 

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