Paralympics schedule out, javelin ace Sandeep Chaudhary charts new course

With Tokyo 2020 organisers announcing the revised schedule for the Paralympic Games, India's medal hopefuls eager to get down to business.

By Naveen Peter

The announcement of fresh dates for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo has given Indian athletes a definite direction to chart their preparations despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic schedule, with 539 sports and 22 events, remains largely the same. It is set to begin on August 24 next year and close on September 5.

According to javelin thrower Sandeep Chaudhary, the new competition schedule will help him plan better.

Ek fixed target mil gayi hai ab (now we have a fixed target to aim at),” India’s champion javelin thrower told the Olympic Channel on Monday.

“We know for a fact that, on the given day, we will be inside the Olympic stadium competing in our events. This should help in visualising that very moment better.

Sandeep Chaudhary believes he has enough time to make up the lost ground before competitions come by in 2021. 

“For me, visualisation plays an important role. I want to know what the weather will be like, picture the stadium and then train to perform to my best in that atmosphere.

“Moreover, I can break down the months ahead and set smaller targets building up to the Games,” Chaudhary explained.

Though Sandeep Chaudhary qualified for the Tokyo Games in the F64 category following his title-winning show at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai last year, the pandemic upset his training, but only just.

Coping with the pandemic

The initial months saw the 23-year-old Chaudhary making the most of the available resources at his home in Gurugram to stay fit.

But with the government announcing some relaxations in the lockdown norms, Sandeep Chaudhary is back in the field again.

“So far it was about keeping my fitness level up. And I think I have done pretty well,” said the athlete supported by the GoSports Foundation.

“But with the government relaxing the norms a bit, I have been able to train well. I think I should be in shape to start throwing in the next 10-12 days,” Chaudhary reckoned.

And with no international competitions scheduled for the year, the Indian believes he has enough time to get back to shape.

“We might have some domestic meets by the end of the year, and I think it's around that time that the international calendar for 2021 will be released.

“I think I have enough time to get back to where I want to be before I go to the Tokyo Games,” said Sandeep Chaudhary, who set a world record for his gold at the 2019 Worlds.

Time to work on shortcomings

Meanwhile, for world champion badminton player Manasi Joshi, the postponement is an opportunity to work on her game as she hopes to make the Paralympic cut once the season resumes.

The 31-year-old, who won the title in singles SL3 at the 2019 Worlds, was looking forward to making the Paralympics in mixed doubles alongside Rakesh Pandey.

But an injury to her partner and a malfunctioning prosthetic at an event in China seemed to have derailed their plans. However, the postponement has given them a lifeline.

“I am happy that we have one more year to train and do better," Manasi Joshi told in an interview prior to the new schedule being released. “I hope that new tournaments will be added by BWF as qualifying tournaments for Tokyo 2020.

“We have one whole year before the Paralympic Games, nobody can say that the same set of players will remain at the top and in the next year many players can better their skills and may also become the best. I think this will be very crucial for everyone.”

While Sandeep Chaudhary will be seen in action in the men’s F64 javelin throw event on August 30 next year, Manasi Joshi and Rakesh Pandey will be keeping their fingers crossed. Badminton events begin September 5.