Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

Blog by APC President

What an extraordinary Games these have turned out to be. Whilst the athletes may have missed spectators in the stadiums, that hasn’t shown in their performances. Once again, they have set the bar even higher and have demonstrated to the world just what they are capable of.

I have felt very privileged to be here and to see these performances in person but with more live sport from Tokyo being shown than ever before, I know that people all around the world have been watching on too. They have seen some incredible Asian performances, far too many to list in full, but here are just some of the remarkable ‘firsts’ achieved by Asian athletes:

  • Oman won their first ever Paralympic medal when Mohammed Al Mashaykhi won a bronze in the Men’s Shot Put F32.
  • Avani Lekhara became the first Indian women to win a gold medal at a Paralympic Games when she emerged winner in R2- Women’s 10m Air Rifle SH1 Shooting Para Sport event.
  • Sri Lanka’s first ever Gold medal was won by Herath Mudiyanselage Dinesh Priyantha in the Men’s Javelin T46.
  • Jordan won their first Gold medal since the Sydney 2000 Games when Omar Qarada won the Men’s -49kg in Powerlifiting.
  • Japan’s Men’s Wheelchair Basketball won the first men’s medal in this sport for their country.
  • Malaysia’s Cheah Liek Hou won the first ever Badminton medal to be awarded at a Paralympic Games.
  • Bhutan and the Maldives competed at their first ever Paralympic Games.

Overall 24 Asian nations have won over 400 medals and more Gold medals were won than in Rio. China has once again topped the medals table while Japan’s athletes have put on an amazing performance to finish 11th on it and India have had their best ever Games.

But it’s not just the medals that have made these Games so special.

After supporting behind the scenes, all of the APC were very proud to see Afghanistan’s Zakia Khudadadi and Hossain Rasouli compete here having been evacuated from their home country in such dramatic circumstances.

It was also fantastic to see athletes from Yemen compete for the first time since 1992 given the conflict that ravages their country.

After so long apart, I have reconnected in person with many colleagues from across Asia and shared their Tokyo experiences. It’s clear that, even under such difficult circumstances, the people of Japan have done an amazing job to stage these incredible Games. The kindness and friendliness of everyone, including the volunteers, has been second to none and we leave with memories that will last a lifetime. We are looking forward to returning to this wonderful country in 2026 when Aichi-Nagoya will host the Asian Games followed by the Asian Para Games.

To all the Asian athletes, officials and support staff, thank you for all your hard work. As APC President, I leave Tokyo very proud of you all and energised to make the Bahrain 2021 Asian Youth Para Games and Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games the best ever to support our region’s performances in Paris in three years’ time

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