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Tokyo Paralympics: Vinod Kumar wins bronze medal in discus throw, sets new Asian record

Tokyo: Vinod Kumar, 42, added another medal to India’s tally following his third-place finish in the Men’s Discus Throw F52 final at the Tokyo Paralympics. During Vinod’s best attempt, he jumped 19.1 meters, and he also broke the Asian record. Vinod, who took up para-athletics in his 30s, cleared 19.91 in the seated/standing discus throw event on his fifth effort. The athlete finished third behind Poland’s gold medalist Piotr Kosewicz (20.02m) and Croatia’s Velimir Sandor (19.98m).

Meanwhile, the Indian team won its third medal on the day. Earlier, Indian paddler Bhavina Patel had opened India’s account at the Paralympics by winning a silver medal in the women’s table tennis finals. Following her, high jumper Nishad Kumar also won a silver in the final event of his respective category. With his 2.06m mark, he also set a new Asian record for men’s high jump T45-T47.

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Deepa Malik, a Rio Paralympics medalist, praised Vinod’s progress and released a video sharing anecdotes from his journey. ‘He took to sports in late 30s and now at 42 years creating an Asian Record and winning a Paralympics medal. True grit and determination,’ she tweeted.

Vinod comes from a family of soldiers. During the 1971 war, his father was injured. Vinod joined the BSF but had to leave after he suffered severe injuries to his legs when he fell off a cliff in Leh in 2002. For almost 10 years, he was bed-ridden.

In Rohtak, Vinod opened a shop near the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, and became interested in the para-athletics after watching Rio’s Paralympic coverage. After starting training under local coaches at the stadium near his house, Vinod, who is married and has two daughters aged seven and two, won bronze at the 2018 and 2019 Nationals in the F53 discus throw.

In 2019, he competed in his first international event at the Handisport Open Para Athletics Grand Prix in Paris and was classified as the F52. Vinod stood fourth in the World Championships in Dubai which secured him a berth in Tokyo.

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