Devendra Jhajharia set a new championship record in javelin at the IPC World athletics championships in Lyon, France on Sunday.
The hand-amputee athlete from Rajasthan won the F46 category with an effort of 57.04 metres, proving to be too good for his rivals. Iran’s Abdolrasoul Mirshekari finished a distant second with 52.62m.
Speaking to The Hindu over the phone after his victory, Jhajharia said: “I’m thrilled to win India’s first gold in the history of the World athletics championships. I had a best throw of 54.7m after my first three attempts. Before the final attempt, my coach and teammates started screaming at me from the sidelines. They told me that was my best chance to create a new championship record. Even though I was leading the pack, their words motivated me to give it my best in the final throw.”
Jhajharia added that he was focused solely on winning a medal for his country, and any rewards that may follow is “a bonus”. “As an athlete, I have done what was required of me,” he said.
The 32-year-old — who is a Padma Shri and Arjuna awardee — had earlier won gold at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games. His effort of 62.15m still stands as a world record.
After clinching his first medal at the 2002 Busan Asian Games, Jhajharia has gone on to win several international competitions.
Sultan Ahmed, the President of the Paralympic Committee of India, announced an award of Rs. 5 lakh for Jhajharia.