Tunis, Feb 6 (IANS): Indian Para-athletes including Paralympic silver medallist discus thrower Yogesh Kathunia will open the 2023 season with the Tunis World Para Athletics Grand Prix that kicks off at the Rades Athletics Stadium on Monday.
Kathunia, who will compete in the men's discus throw F56 event, will be leading an 11-member Indian team that also has Paralympian Simran and Asian Para Games medallist Rinku Hooda. Devendra Gehlot, who took part in the Birmingham 2022 CWG, is also part of the visiting team.
"The Tunis GP is the first of the several Grand Prix events lined up in the year. And the main target for our players at these competitions is to attain the MQS towards qualification for the World Championships in Paris (in July) and Asian Para Games in Hangzhou later this year," said Para-athletics coach Lakhwinder Singh.
Kathunia, who has been recovering from a lower back muscle spasm suffered two weeks back, is also aiming for the same adding that he had good training at Panchkula.
"Training has been okay so far. I have been focusing on my rehab, multi-gym training and my throw. This year the target has been the Asian Para Games and World Championships and I will be aiming for the Paris 2024 Paralympic quota at the Worlds this July," Kathunia told the Paralympic Committee of India.
The Tunis 2023 Grand Prix will see the participation of around 300 athletes from 25 countries.
Among the top names, host Tunisia which took four gold medals at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will have their Paralympic stars Walid Ktila (men's T34 wheelchair racing) and Raoua Tlili (women's F41 thrower) in their ranks.
Malaysia's top Para-athletes including Abdul Latif Romli (men's long jump T20), Mohamad Puzi (men's 100m T36) and Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli (men's shot put F20) are also in Tunisia.
African neighbours Algeria, Morocco and Kenya will be among the other nations expected to make a mark at the event.
All events that will be featured on the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games programme were available for entries at Tunis 2023, making the Grand Prix an important of the preparations for both this year's World Championships and next year's Paralympics in the French capital.