World Para C'ships: Sachin sets Asian record as India record best-ever tally

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World Para C'ships: Sachin sets Asian record as India record best-ever tally

At the Para World Athletics Championships in Kobe on Wednesday, India achieved their greatest-ever result courtesy of a gold medal winning performance in the F46 shot put event by reigning champion Sachin Sarjerao Khilari. Khilari's medal, which she earned with an Asian record of 16.30 meters, is the fifth gold for India in the current competition. Khilari beat the 16.21-meter Asian mark he had set in Paris the previous year.

India is now in third place behind China, who has won 48 medals (18 gold, 16 silver, 14 bronze), and Brazil (17 gold, 8 silver, 5 bronze), with three days remaining in the championships. India currently has 12 medals (5 gold, 4 silver, and 3 bronze). India's greatest result in the competition was achieved in the 2023 edition in Paris, where the team finished on the 19th place with 10 medals (3 gold, 4 silver, and 3 bronze).

Khilari began with a throw of 14.73 meters and finished first with throws of 15.69 meters, X, 15.93 meters, 15.35 meters, and 16.30 meters. Next was Greg Stewart of Canada, who turned in his best throw of the season, a final-ditch 16.14. Luka Bakovic of Croatia won bronze with a 16.04-meter personal best throw. Mohammed Yasser, a fellow countryman, finished eighth (14.62) while Rohit Kumar was eliminated early after fouling in each of his first three attempts.

Khilari, 34, comes from Karagani village in the Sangli district of Maharashtra. He was disabled in his left hand due to an accident that happened while he was in school. Gangrene caused him to lose his elbow muscles, and even after several operations, his arm never fully healed. In para athletics competitions, individuals with either absent limbs or one or both arms with moderately impaired movement are classified as the F46 category. These athletes must transfer their leg and hip strength into the throw.

The gold champion thrower from the Hangzhou Asian Games told PTI he was sure he would place first on the podium. "I am pleased because I was anticipating the gold here. In addition, I've qualified for the Paralympics in Paris, where I intend to compete and win gold," Khilari said.

Dharambir won the bronze in the men's F51 club throw, throwing a distance of 33.61 meters, which was India's second medal of the day. Silver medallist Dharambir of the Hangzhou Asian Games broke his own Asian record in the process, surpassing his own personal best of 31.09 meters set in 2022 at the Fazza International Para Athletics Championships in Dubai.

Zeljko Dimitrijevic of Serbia won the gold, setting a championship record with a throw of 34.20 meters on his fifth try. Dimitrijevic also owned the previous record of 33.82 meters; he accomplished this in Dubai in 2019. Maria Santana Hernandez of Mexico took up the silver with a season-best throw of 33.62 meters. Despite being 0.01 centimeters short of Hernandez's record, Dharambir's bronze-winning throw of 33.61 meters was sufficient to reset the continental record. 21.63, 26.97, 21.43, 33.15, 33.61, and 33.21 were the numbers in his series. Pranav Soorma, a fellow countryman, placed fourth with a 33.10-meter performance.