India have ten athletes participating in the Paralympics 2012 which starts on 29th August and ends on 9th September. We are competing in four categories—Athletics, Powerlifting, Shooting and Swimming. While there are separate athletes in each category for Athletics and Powerlifting, shooter and Naresh Sharma and swimmer Sharath Gayakwad will be participating in different categories.
Here's a short profile of the Indian contingent.
Girisha Nagarajegowda (High Jump - F42)
A 24-year old from Hosanagara in Hassan district in Karnataka. The young man, who has an impairment in his left leg, promises to give it his best shot. For the Paralympics, he won the qualifying event held in Kuwait, with a leap of 1.60 metres. But his best is 1.80 metres. In The Hindu, Girisha was quotes as saying: "I found a job but had to quit since I had to prepare for the Paralympics. The job can wait, what matters now is a medal."
Jaideep Deswal (Discus Throw - F42)
Deswal qualified for the Paralympics after clinching gold at the Malayasian Para Athletics C’ships in April 2012. He underwent training at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Wales, for the Games. The para-athlete, was diagnosed with polio at the age of five, but paid no heed to criticism and people's indifference to rise against all odds.
Amit Kumar (Discus Throw - F51-53)
He is ranked third in the world in this category. He finished sixth in the Commonwealth Para Games in the shot put and won a silver at the Guangzhou Asian Para Games in 2010. He suffered a spinal cord injury which affected his lower body.
Narender Ranbir (Javelin Throw - F44)
Narender, who hails from from Haryana, qualified for the Games when he won the gold medal in the Malaysian Open earlier this year.
Jagseer Singh (Long Jump - F46)
This athlete from Rajasthan is one of India's top medal prospects. He finished seventh in the Beijing Paralympics four years back and will be looking to do much better this time round. The Arjuna award winner won the gold medals in two international events in the run-up to the London Games and that should boost his confidence a great deal before the Paralympics. According to a report in the Hindustan Times, Jagseer trains for almost 5-6 hours daily.
Farman Basha (Powerlifting - 48kg)
The veteran in India's squad. He has been competing for almost 18 years now. Along the way, he has won the Arjuna Award (2007) and Eklavya Award (2008). At the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, he finished fourth and count on him to go at least one better this time. He also won a gold and a silver in IWWS World Games in 2009 and 2011 respectively.
Rajindersingh Rahelu (Powerlifting - 67.5kg)
Another senior. He has won several international medals and is an Arjuna awardee as well. He won a bronze at the Athens Paralympics in 2004.
Sachin Chaudhary (Powerlifting -82.5kg)
The 'relative' newcomer in the Powerlifting team. He competed in the 2010 Commonwealth Games as well. He won silver medals in the APC Cup as well as the IWAS World Games. Both events took place in 2009.
Naresh Sharma (Shooting)
Another veteran — these are his fifth Paralympics. He will be representing India in three separate events — Men's 50m Rifle 3 Positions SH1, Men's 10m Air Rifle Standing SH1, Mixed 50m Rifle Prone SH1. He is already 40 and trained under German coach Manfred Goras.
Sharath Gayakwad (Swimming)
The swimmer from Karnataka is taking part in four events — 50m freestyle S8, 100m breaststroke SB8, 100m butterfly S8, 200m individual medley SM8. He won two gold medals, four silver and a bronze in the 2009 IWAS World Games in Bangalore. In March this year, he won two silver and as many bronze medals in the Danish Open swimming championship.