TOKYO: Deepa Malik, the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) president, on Monday said the athletes are in a positive state of mind and have adapted to the situation here ahead of the Tokyo Games.
54 para-athletes from across nine sports disciplines will be featuring in the showpiece event. This is India's biggest ever contingent to the Paralympic Games.
"Extremely happy to be here. With the pandemic situation and Games almost having been cancelled, it had really kind of demoralised us. But the fact that now despite all the challenges, the Games are getting organised, the athletes are in a positive state of mind," said Deepa replying to a query from ANI.
"Things are different but we sportsperson are used to adapting and when it comes to Paralympians, we are a symbol of adaptability and emerging stronger," she added.
When ANI asked about the COVID-19 protocols in the Games Village, Deepa said, "We have adopted well to all the COVID protocols. I have attended events previously but as an athlete, the josh is the same, the fire in the belly is the same, and they all are looking in good shape."
"We have to submit our sample for COVID testing every morning, there are regular checkups at every corner. There is a dedicated time for training, so your training is not sacrificed," she added.
The PCI chief is confident that Indian athletes will create history in the upcoming Games.
"My expectations are already gone beyond what I was expecting. Despite the pandemic, there is such a huge leap in athletes qualifying for the Games," she said.
Further talking about the Games, Deepa said, "Athletes have done pretty well in the selection trails. The kind of world rankings they are there holding is very promising. We have top-ranked athletes so that itself gives us a very good indication that it will be great Paralympics for Indian history," she added.
Gursharan Singh, the secretary-general of PCI, said in the last decade awareness about Paralympic Games has grown rapidly in India.
"The Paralympics story for India started in 2010 when in London we got a silver medal. Of course, we had earlier won a medal but at that time there was no awareness of Paralympic movement in India," said Gursharan.
"Since 2011 we have been progressing very rapidly particularly since the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games where we won four medals and after that, we got a lot of support from various corporates," he said on the sidelines of a joint campaign launch.
Coca-Cola-owned homegrown beverage brand Thums Up has partnered with the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).
The Tokyo Paralympic Games is scheduled to be held between August 24 and September 5.