Sachin Tendulkar seeks support for Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, calls para-athletes are ‘real-life heroes’.

Legendary batsman, Sachin Tendulkar says we can become a better society if we support the participants, just like our Olympic heroes and cricketers.

Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar has called on the country to wholeheartedly support the Indian athletes taking part in the Tokyo Paralympics and termed them ‘real-life heroes’. The Games are starting on Tuesday. ‘It is time for the Paralympics and I would like to appeal to all Indians to get behind our contingent of 54 athletes in Tokyo,’ Tendulkar said in a statement on Monday.

‘These athletes are real-life heroes, they have earned their right to participate in the Paralympics.’ India will be represented by just 54 players because of the low number of para-athletes in the country. ‘I have played cricket and I know what it takes to compete. It is absolutely amazing that these athletes have reached the pinnacle of success despite being faced with numerous challenges,’ he added. ‘Let us all get behind them as they are India’s future.’

The Paralympics will be held from October 25 to 29, a week after the Olympic Games which conclude on Sunday, October 1. The Paralympics are held after the Olympics, with the same facilities and using the same equipment. The only difference is that the athletes have a disability.

‘Their journeys are an eye-opener to what women and men can do with passion, commitment and determination and serve as inspiration for every one of us,’ added the legendary batsman, who has numerous records to his name. He said it was important to celebrate every athlete, who would compete at the Paralympics, irrespective of the results. ‘I have always believed that if we can celebrate our Paralympic athletes in the very same manner that we celebrate our Olympic heroes and our cricketers, we can become a better society.

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Sachin Tendulkar supports Paralympic players for upcoming Paralympics.

‘And it is not simply about the medal winners. Not every athlete among the 54 participating in the Paralympics will win a medal. ‘However, it is important we celebrate them all. We need to celebrate the process and not simply the outcome. That’s when real change will happen in our sport,’ he added. Tendulkar also hoped that the country wins more medals this time around.

‘I have been reading we might win more than 10 medals this time around. I hope we win more. In Rio, we had won four medals. If that goes up to 10 it is a significant upswing that all of us should celebrate. ‘Having said that I will watch each athlete with the same interest whether they make it to the podium or not. Each of them is a great role model and to see them perform for India and do it all for the tricolor is in itself a great sense of satisfaction for the country.’ He was also delighted to see the support the government and corporate houses have extended to para-athletes.

‘I have been delighted to see India embrace the Paralympics this year, the very welcome initiatives of the government and corporates working in partnership and on their own in different aspects of extending support to our sportspersons are all steps in the right direction,’ he signed off.

‘I have been delighted to see India embrace the Paralympics this year, the very welcome initiatives of the government and corporates working in partnership and on their own in different aspects of extending support to our sportspersons are all steps in the right direction,’ he signed off.

Sakshi Malik, who won a silver medal in wrestling at the 2016 Rio Olympics, also extended her support to the para-athletes on their big moment. ‘Paralympians are the real heroes,’ she wrote on Twitter. ‘Let’s cheer and support our Paralympian athletes at the Games.’ The Paralympics is not as high-profile as the Olympics, but Tendulkar said that needed to change. ‘We must back them in greater numbers at this edition of the Paralympic Games. It’s not just about medals, the journey towards greatness is always a remarkable one,’ he said.

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