India’s para high jumper Praveen Kumar wins silver medal in the finals of Men’s High Jump – T44 at Tokyo Paralympics on Friday. Praveen Kumar became the youngest Paralympic for India at the age of 18. Kumar passed on his first attempt of 1.83 and directly cleared 1.88m in his first jump. Then after sitting through the 1.93m mark, he cleared 1.97m on his first attempt which was enough to ensure him the medal. Gold went to Great Britain’s Jonathan Broom-Edwards who cleared 2.10m, while bronze was taken by world record holder Poland’s Maciej Lepiato.
Kumar, competing in his debut Paralympics, set a new Asian record with a 2.07m jump. This was also Kumar’s personal best performance and his first major medal since taking up the sport in 2019. It took two attempts for Kumar to clear the 2.01m mark and cleared 2.04m jump in his first attempt. He couldn’t clear the 2.07m mark in his first attempt. However, he made a smooth finish to clear the mark in his second try making the Asian Record, which Broom and Lepiato had failed. Lepiato failed to clear the mark in his third attempt, which had assured Praveen at least a silver. Broom cleared the 2.10m mark in his second attempt, which Praveen failed to clear in his three attempts, thus settling for silver. Kumar’s was the fourth medal for India in men’s high jump at Tokyo Games after Nishad Kumar, Mariyappan Thangavelu, and Sharad Kumar.
T64 classification is for athletes with a leg amputation, who compete with prosthetics in a standing position. T44, the disability classification that Kumar belongs to but is eligible to compete in T64, is for athletes with a leg deficiency, leg length difference, impaired muscle power or impaired passive range of movement in the legs. His impairment, which is congenital, affects the bones that connect his hip to his left leg.
The ongoing Paralympic Games are turning out to be India’s best ever and the nation has so far claimed two gold, six silver and three bronze medals.