Tokyo, Aug 11 The Tokyo Paralympic Games 2020, scheduled to be held from August 24 till September 5, will be an event of many firsts, with the most striking being a record number of female athletes who will be competing in the quadrennial showpiece.
At least 40.5 per cent of all the athletes will be women, according to the IPC Qualification Criteria. This equates to 1,782 athletes, an increase on the 1,671 women who competed at Rio 2016 (38.6 per cent).
Tokyo, which will make history as the first city to stage the Paralympic Games for a second time — having hosted the event in 1964 — will also see badminton, a sport with mass viewership, make its debut along with taekwondo.
Despite the pandemic restrictions, the Tokyo organisers are expecting to surpass the viewership numbers logged at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, which had a cumulative audience of 4.1 billion on television.
In India, the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) has awarded the rights to broadcast the Games to Eurosport India. This will be the first time Eurosport will broadcast a global multi-sport event in the country and expand on a diverse range of sports already available to fans across its platforms.
With a focus on local heroes, Eurosport India’s coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympic Games will start on August 27 to coincide with the men’s and women’s archery events at Yumenoshima Park Archery Field. The Eurosport feed will also be live on the discovery+ app for the fans to stay up to speed with all the action from Tokyo.
India will be fielding its largest ever contingent this year with 54 Paralympic athletes participating across nine disciplines. Among those in medal contention are, world No. 3 and world No. 2 in javelin, Sumit Antil and Sandeep Chaudhary; Manish Narwal (10m air pistol), Singhraj (10m air pistol) and Avani Lekhara (10m air rifle, 50m air rifle) in shooting and Mariyappan Thangavelu in high jump.
In a unique innovation to help those with vision impairments recognise the different Tokyo 2020 Paralympic medals by touch, a series of circular indentations have been included on the side of the medals for the first time in Paralympic history. One indentation represents gold, two distinguishes silver and three identifies bronze. Braille letters also spell out “Tokyo 2020” on the medals’ face.