Indian Paralympic medallists return home to tumultuous welcome

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Chaotic scenes unfolded at the Indira Gandhi international Airport in New Delhi 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.

“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.

The 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 as media persons battled to get reactions from the heroes.

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 Sharad claimed a T42 high jump bronze.

India’s medal tally at the Games has soared to an unprecedented 12 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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