18-year-old Praveen Kumar won the silver medal in the Men’s high jump T64 event of the Paralympics on Friday happening in Tokyo. This was Kumar’s debut in the Paralympics, and he set a new Asian record with a 2.07m jump.
Praveen Kumar’s win took India’s medal tally to 11 in the ongoing Paralympics.
Kumar finished behind Jonathan Broom-Edwards, from Britain, who swept up his best of the season’s of 2.10m for the gold.
The bronze went to Maciej Lepiota, Rio Games champion from Poland, who produced a 2.04m.
High Jumper Praveen Kumar
The win at Tokyo Paralympics was Kumar’s personal best performance and his first major medal since taking up the sport in 2019.
Praveen had earned Paralympic qualification with a fourth-place finish in the men’s high jump T64 final at Junior Championships, clearing 1.92, which was his personal best.
Praveen Kumar is currently ranked No.3 in the T44 classification. He has always trained under Satyapal Singh, the national coach, after coming to know of para-sports and Paralympics.
As a child, he competed in high jump events for able-bodied individuals.
Kumar is a resident of Noida and is currently the youngest medal winner in the Indian contingent here. He falls under the T44 disability classification but is also eligible to compete in the T64 disability classification.
The T64 classification is for athletes and sportsperson with a leg amputation, leg deficiency, difference length of the leg, muscle power impairment, or impaired passive range of movement in the legs.
Participants in this category compete with prosthetics in a standing position. Kumar’s congenital impairment affects the bones that connect his hip to his left leg.
“I can’t explain how I feel. This jump was ecstatic. This is my first Paralympic Games, and I am waiting to see what lies ahead,” said Praveen Kumar.
Kumar also mentioned that his confidence was boosted immensely after he jumped 2m. Initially, it was a little low, but his conviction to win skyrocketed after he jumped over the 2m marks. “Now, I’ve done 2.07m, and that is a massive leap. I credit my coach with this feat,” he added.
From Sachin Tendulkar to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, social media was flooded with congratulatory messages for Praveen Kumar. The ongoing Paralympic Games are turning out to be one of the best for India.
India has so far claimed two gold, six silver, and three bronze medals.