Indian discus thrower and para-athlete Vinod Kumar lost his F52 category bronze medal at the Tokyo Paralympics after being found not eligible when there was a disability classification assessment by the competition panel.
Yesterday, the 41-year-old former BSF employee won a bronze medal at the F52 category discus throw. His best effort was a throw of 19.91m to finish third position behind Poland’s Piotr Kosewicz (20.02m) and Velimir Sandor (19.98m) of Croatia. However, this final result was challenged by some of the competitors in the event.
The organisers state that the panel was unable to allocate Vinod Kumar from NPC India with a sports class and the Indian para-athlete is now designated as Classification not Completed (CNC). They added that Kumar is ineligible to compete in the F52 Discus event and hence his result in the competition will be considered invalid. This results in him not getting a medal.
F52 events are for those para-athletes who have impaired muscle power, restricted range of movement, limb deficiency or leg length difference, with all the athletes competing in a seated position due to cervical cord injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, and functional disorder. Para-athletes are classified according to the type and extent of disability the athlete has. These categories are made in such a way so that every para-athlete competes on an equal footing with others who have a similar ability. There have been complaints against how these categories have been “gamed” by athletes who are taking advantage of the rules under the categorization. Para swimmer Theo Currin has complained about it saying that in his event, there were swimmers who had both hands which creates an absolute disadvantage in the S5 category.
Vinod Kumar’s classification was done on the 22nd of August. India still has 6 medals which they won today.