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World Para Athletics: Navdeep, Arvind win 2 quotas, India win 4 gold

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Dubai, Feb 13 (IANS) Promising Para-athletes Navdeep and Arvind secured two quotas for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games as India’s gold medal tally swelled to nine after the third day of competitions at the 12th Fazza International Championships-Dubai 2021 World Para Athletics Grand Prix here.

Overall, India has so far won 17 medals, including nine gold.

Friday evening was lit up by brilliant shows from Indian men javelin throwers — reigning world champion Sandeep Chaudhary (F44), Ajeet Singh (F46), and Navdeep (F41), who were later joined by Pranav Prashant Desai with a gold in men’s 200m F64.

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Meanwhile, world champion javelin thrower Sundar Singh Gurjar (F46) managed only bronze.

Navdeep, whose first international event was the 2017 Asian Youth Para Games in Dubai, produced a brilliant throw of 43.58 metres in his third attempt to take gold in men’s javelin F41 event. The UAE’s Anas Alhosani (6.96 m) ended second.

“I am very happy to also secure a quota. I want to win a medal at the Tokyo Paralympic now.

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I felt confident with my throw today. My first throw wasn’t very good, but then I tried to focus and got a good throw. Sandeep bhaiya and Navdeep sir have been helping me with my technique at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi,” said the former world junior champion who had to compete with a new javelin owing to late submission of his own javelin.

Arvind attained the Minimum Qualification Standard (MQS) with a distance of 14.05m men’s shot out final F35/36. He finished fifth in the event.

In men’s javelin 38/F42/ F44/ 63/ 64, Chaudhary hurled the javelin to a distance of 61.22 metres, though much less than his world record effort of 66.18m at the Dubai 2019 worlds at the same ground, but was enough to take the gold.

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He was better than Columbia’s Luis Fernan Lucumi Villegas (54.95 m), who set a new American record, and Chaminda Hetti Arachchige of Sri Lanka (56.34 m).

“It’s a nice feeling to return to one of my favourite grounds. My body felt good to compete after a long time. But I was hoping to get my personal best today. Nevertheless, to open the season with over 61m distance is not bad. In the coming months, it will be more about following the process and staying in shape before we start our final preparation for the Tokyo 2020,” said Chaudhary.

Ajeet Singh sent the spear to a distance of 58.76 m to finish ahead of Sri Lanka’s Gamini Ketawala (58.55m) and fellow Indian Gurjar (57.74 m) in men’s javelin F46 final.

For Ajeet, this was his third international medal in third competition.

“I am very happy to compete in an international event after long time. But I am not to be satisfied with my performance today. I expected to throw at least 58 metres. I will go back and work on my technique now,” said the Gwalior-born Para athlete, who clinched his first international gold medal in the 2019 China Grand Prix.

Later, Pranav Prasant Desai added India’s fourth gold medal clocking 24.96 seconds in men’s 200m T64 to finish ahead of Thailand (25.60s) and Kazakastan’s Rufat Khabibullin (28.86s)

The third day of competitions also witnessed Italian teenager Ambra Sabatini setting a new world record en route the gold in the women’s final T62/ 63/ 64 clocking 14.59 seconds.

–IANS

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