[Editorial Analysis] True mettle: On India’s parathletes

Mains Paper 2: National
Prelims level: Paralympic Games
Mains level: Social Justice

Context:
• In Tokyo, after a recent success at Olympics India’s differently-abled athletes extended this tale of excellence into the Paralympic Games.

About Paralympics or Paralympic Games or Paralympiad:

• It is a quadrennial event, which concluded at the Tokyo on Sunday.

• These are a periodic series of international multi-sport events involving athletes with a range of physical and Mental disabilities, including impaired muscle power (e.g. paraplegia and quadriplegia, muscular dystrophy, post-polio syndrome, spina bifida), impaired passive range of movement, limb deficiency (e.g. amputation or Dysmelia), leg length difference, short stature, hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis, vision impairment and intellectual impairment.

• There are Winter and Summer Paralympic Games.

• The first Paralympics were held in 1960 in Rome. These are held almost immediately following the respective Olympic Games. All Paralympic Games are governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

• This year these were held in Tokyo.

India’s performance:

• Witnessed an exemplary show by these athletes representing 2.2% of India’s population, who are differently-abled.

• India finished 24th in the table with 19 medals that featured five golds, eight silvers and six bronzes.

• This was India’s finest outing at the Paralympics and eclipsed the previous best of four medals at the Rio de Janeiro edition in 2016.
• Despite hardships the paralympians strove towards excellence, be it athletics, where javelin throwers are the toast of the month, or badminton or shooting.

• The five gold medallists — Sumit Antil, Pramod Bhagat, Krishna Nagar, Manish Narwal and Avani Lekhara — led from the front, and the last named 19-year-old shooter also won a bronze.

• The coaches, the Paralympic Committee of India and Sports Ministry played their parts while India excelled in a championship held in the shadow of a health crisis. Since its first medal at the 1972 Paralympics, India was a marginal presence until now.

Limitations of India’s sporting culture:

• Lack of sporting culture: Academics are preferred more over the other aspects of knowledge and skills.

• Infrastructure deficit – Accessibility Challenge: A simple access-audit of India’s urban buildings would reveal how even a ramp essential for the differently-abled is either missing or added as an after-thought. In 2016, an audit initiated by government agencies did not find a single building that was completely accessible to the differently-abled.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Vande Bharat trains, consider the following statements:

1. It was rolled out by the Integral Coach Factory, Delhi.

2. It is India’s first semi high-speed train with an operational efficiency of 160 kmph.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: B

Mains Questions:

Q.1) What makes a person disable is lack of accessibility of opportunities in the society. Comment.

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