Vinod Kumar's discus throw bronze on hold at Tokyo Paralympics after protest over disability classification

 

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Vinod Kumar

High jumper Nishad Kumar clinched a silver with an Asian record before discus thrower Vinod Kumar fetched a bronze which was put on hold after a protest over his disability classification as India began collecting what is expected to be an unprecedented haul of athletics medals in the Paralympics here on Sunday.

Vinod’s classification in F52, which is for athletes with impaired muscle power, restricted range of movement, limb deficiency or leg length difference, was done on August 22 by the organisers.

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It was not clear on what grounds the classification has been challenged.

“Results of this event are currently under review due to classification observation in competition. The Victory Ceremony has been postponed to the evening session of 30th August,” read a statement from the Games organisers.

India’s Chef de Mission Gursharan Singh told PTI that Vinod’s medal stands for now.

“There was a protest from one country or may be more than one, we don’t know as it can’t be revealed, that there could be issues on the classification done on Vinod before the start of Paralympics,” he said.

“Vinod’s result, that is his bronze, still stands and a decision is unlikely to come today as it is very late now. It’s expected tomorrow,” he added.

The 21-year-old Nishad, who is a farmer’s son in Himachal Pradesh’s Amb town, cleared 2.06m to win the silver in T47 class before 41-year-old BSF man Vinod, whose father fought in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, produced a best throw of 19.91m to clinch a bronze.

The two athletics medals came after Bhavinaben Patel gave India its first medal in the Games by grabbing a silver in the women’s singles table tennis class 4 event.

The 24-member Indian athletics team is hoping for a rich haul of medals — at least 10 — and the double success on Sunday gave the country enough reasons to smile on the National Sports Day.

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