Indian para athlete Nishad Kumar recorded a personal best of two metres to claim the bronze medal in men’s high jump T47 final at the World Para Athletics Championships.

With the medal, Kumar also secured a quota, India’s ninth, in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. This was India’s third bronze and sixth medal overall, one better than 2017 London World Championships. India had won five medals in the 2017 edition.

Nishad led the pack from the start clearing the bar first at 1.75 m to 1.97 m men’s high jump before China’s Hongjie Chen pushed him with a two metres jump.

But the USA’s Rio Paralympic champion and world record holder Roderick Townsend-Roberts cleared the bar just once at 2.03 metres to take the gold. Chen settled for silver.

“I am super happy. It’s my first World Championships, never expected that I will get a medal competing against such top players. My next target is Tokyo 2020 Paralympics,” Nishad said.

“I had nothing to lose so gave my best today. I believe in hard work. I will go back home and work hard for Tokyo 2020,” said Nishad, who is 6 feet 4 inches tall and is competing in Para Athletics for the last 10 years.

India coach Satyanarayana, who trained Mariyappan Thangavelu to Rio 2016 gold, said Nishad has a lot of potential and will be one of the strong prospects for India at Tokyo 2020.

“The best thing about Nishad is that he is young and flexible. His capacity is 2.30 metres. I am sure if he works hard on his technique, he will get a medal at the Paralympics.”

On Thursday, six of Indian athletes including Mariyappan and Sharad Kumar will be in action in Men’s high jump T63 and men’s 400m events.