Sport

Javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia wins gold at Paralympics

Devendra Jhajharia poses for the pictures next to the scoreboard that shows his world record in the men's javelin throw F46 athletics event at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: AP   | Photo Credit: Leo Correa

Javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia became the first Indian to clinch two gold medals at the Paralympics after he broke his own world record to clinch the top honours at the Rio Games here.

Devendra, who won his previous gold in the 2004 Athens Games, bettered his own world record to finish on top in the men’s F46 event.

Devendra, whose previous best was 62.15 metres (achieved in the 2004 Games), improved the mark with an attempt of 63.97 metres at the Olympic Stadium (Engenhao).

India now have two gold, one silver and one bronze in the ongoing edition of the Games.

>Thangavelu Mariyappan had earlier struck gold in the men’s high jump, while Varun Bhati had secured a bronze in the same event.

Later, Deepa Malik won a silver in the women’s shot put event to add to the tally.

Devendra Jhajharia's journey to paralympics

The 35-year-old who is now employed by the Sports Authority of India as coach hails from a remote village in Churu district of Rajasthan. Now 2-time gold medallist lost his left arm when he was nine in an electric shock. In this interview with The Hindu, he says that he accidentally touched a live cable and nobody was sure whether he'd be able to recover from it.

With support from his parents, he was able to recover from the amputation of his left arm. He believes that "to be a champion, you had to be a sportsman" and that's what made him go after javelin.

From a district-level champion, he steadily moved up the ladder to state and in 2002 he went on to win his first gold when participated in the Para-Asian Games.

He was 23 when he won the gold at the 2004 Athens Games. His performance has been quite consistent in the decade after his big win. He won a silver at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games.

When asked whether para-athletes get recognition as much as other sportsperson in India, he says, "For sure we don’t get our due. But para-sport is on the rise and slowly we are getting more recognition."

> Read the full interview with the paralympian, where he opens up about his journey to the top from a remote village in Rajasthan here.

(with inputs from PTI)