Sundar Gurjar and Sandeep Chaudhary to lead Indian charge at World Para Athletics GP in Dubai

India have a number of candidates looking to make the cut for the Tokyo Olympics at the first para sport event since the Covid-19 outbreak

By Samrat Chakraborty

Reigning world champion javelin throwers Sundar Singh Gurjar (F-46) and Sandeep Chaudhary (F-44) will spearhead India's challenge at the 12th Fazza International World Para Athletics Grand Prix, a Tokyo Paralympics qualifying event. It is set to be held in Dubai from February 10 to 13.

This is the first international para-sport event since the Covid-19 pandemic brought the world to a stand-still.

Apart from Gurjar and Chaudhary, high jumpers Sharad Kumar (T-42) and Nishad Kumar (T-47), javelin thrower Ajeet Singh (F-46) and discus thrower Yogesh Kathuniya (F-56) will be plying their trade in their respective events.

Whereas, Kashish Lakra (discus and club throw F-51), Shweta Sharma (javelin F-55) and Simran (100m, 400m T-13) are the other potential candidates who are tipped to do well.

Over 600 para athletes from 63 countries are expected to participate in the Tokyo qualifying event.

The Dubai Sports Council is hosting the games under the leadership of Council Chairman Sheikh Mansoor bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

"I am very happy to return to international competition after a long time," said Gurjar. "I have good memories from the World Championships in 2019 and I hope to do even better this time. I will try to maintain my No. 1 world ranking in my event."

"This event is also important in regard to our preparations for Tokyo 2020 as we have been just training for more than one year now," he added.

This has been a happy hunting ground for Chaudhary as he earned his world championship in 2019 at the same venue.

"Yes, I have special memories in this ground. I hope to do well this time as well though my target will be producing my personal best at Tokyo 2020. This is an important event for all the players as this will help us get back into shape after the pandemic has put a halt to training and events for more than a year. I am happy to finally compete now," - Sandeep Chaudhary

National para athletics coach Satyanarayana said, "We are looking to secure at least six additional qualifying slots there."