Dubai: A 23-member strong Indian team, led by reigning world champion Sundar Singh Gurjar, will be out to secure 2020 Tokyo Paralympics qualification slots when the World Para Athletics Championships kick off here today.
The Indian team, which arrived here on Tuesday evening, did their first official training at the Dubai Club for People of Determination Stadium. Javelin and high jump are the two events that they are hoping to win some medals in.
Team coach Naval Singh said that his athletes were targeting eight medals. At the 2017 London World Championships, India finished in 34th place with five medals, including one gold.
"This time the Indian team is stronger and we are targeting more medals than last time, including four gold. We have six javelin throwers who are also medal contenders. We have some experienced athletes like Sandeep and Sundar, while Naval is a junior world champion. The team is confident of doing well," Naval Singh told the Paralympic Committee of India.
Gurjar, who is recovering from a right shoulder injury that he picked up at training, is now raring to defend his Javelin F46 gold which he won in London in 2017.
"I have been training well. I had a muscle tear in my shoulder, but I am recovering well. I will come up with a good show and defend my title," he said.
Sandeep Chaudhary and Sumit, who shattered two world records in men's F40-46 and 61-64 javelin throw category, respectively, at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Italy in June, will be the other two athletes to watch out for in the javelin events.
Chaudhary, who is an Asian Para Games champion, said, "We have prepared well and are looking forward to the event. This is the last event in 2019 and everyone will be trying to give 100 percent considering that it's a Tokyo 2020 qualification event. I am looking to get my personal best. The wind, however, will be a factor at the venue." IANS