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#IStandIndependent – Para sportspersons who make India proud

Through August we have featured para sportspersons who are battling tremendous odds like poverty, gender bias and disability to keep the flag of India flying high.

This year, India marked 73 years of Independence, and the occasion was made even more special when the India Divyang Cricket Team made history by lifting the trophy at the first ever India Divyang Cricket Team. The newly formed team won all the matches in the tournament beating more experienced side.

One of the members of the winning side is Ramesh Subramanian Naidu. Growing up, this Tamil Nadu state player and student at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) had dreamed of making the country proud.

Speaking to NewzHook just before the series, Ramesh said, "By winning the World Cup for India, I want to create a platform for others with disabilities". Well, he has certainly set the ball rolling!

Growing up, the word para badminton champion Palak Kohli most often heard was bechaari. Her disability seemed to define her and Palak would not be allowed to join games in school. She has proved everyone wrong, and how. With three gold medals in her first national para games this year, Palak is an emerging star.

Like Palak, wheelchair tennis player Madhusudan H is looking to make his mark in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. Just 24 years old, he has taken part in five international tournaments across four countries, even winning a silver medal in the 2014 Bangkok Open Wheelchair Tennis Tournament. "My biggest dream in life is to represent India in the 2020 Paralympics. For that, I want to stay positive, work hard and make it happen", says Madhusudan.

No one thought Satendra Singh would be able to swim the English Channel, Well, he did that last year and this month he was part of a group of para swimmers who swam the Catalina Channel in the United States. All of them are determined to be the world's first para swimmers to complete the Ocean Seven Swimming Challenge.

And we had the Indian para badminton team putting up a terrific show at the BWF World Championship Para-Badminton 2019 winning 12 medals. Manasi Joshi won a gold in the SL3 category.

Manoj Kumar too is raring to make his mark in the Paralympics in wheelchair racing. Despite financial challenges and lack of official support, Manoj pursues his passion relentlessly.

And finally there's para shooter Akash who has worked odd jobs to support his love for shooting. With no official support from his state government Akash hopes a Paralympics medal will change the game for him.

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