New Delhi: Veteran shooter Naresh Kumar Sharma became the first para athlete from India to grab a quota for 2016 Rio Paralympics.
The 42-year-old Arjuna Awardee won the quota with a 12th place finish in men's 50m rifle three position at the IPC Shooting World Cup at Fort Benning, USA.
This could be Sharma's fifth Paralympic participation. He has participated from 1996 to 2012 missing only the 2004 edition. His best performance was at Beijing in 2008 where he finished 5th.
Naresh Kumar Sharma said, "I am happy to win the quota for India but I am sad that no one from the federation has even bothered to call me up and appreciate my performance. The last two years has been very difficult for me. I had no funds train and travel abroad for the competitions.
"Even our federation was under a suspension and so things were not easy. However I am very thankful to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Sports Ministry to fund me and the others for the three World Cups this year."