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‘That’s my dream’ – World record holder Sumit Antil eyes a place in both Olympics and Paralympics at 2024 Paris Summer Games

22-year-old Sumit Antil aims for Olympic glory having conquered the Paralympic title in style at the Tokyo Games.

Sumit Antil

India’s ace javelin thrower Sumit Antil took the Tokyo Paralympics by storm with a scintillating performance on a day the nation bagged as many as four medals. On his way to the gold medal in the F-64 category, Sumit smashed the World record not once or twice but thrice in the final to better it by 2 meters.

Sumit threw 66.95m in his very first attempt to set the new World record, before bettering it with his second throw and again in his fifth attempt to set a new milestone of 68.55m. Having conquered the Paralympics, the 22-year-old now aims for an Olympic berth at the 2024 Paris Games. “Don’t be surprised to see me at Paris 2024 taking part in both Olympic and Paralympics. That’s my dream,” Antil was quoted by Paralympics.org.

Sumit braved the hot and humid conditions and he credits his rigorous training for the same. “During the pandemic, everything was shut and I took special permission from the Sports Authority of India to train. I prepared for all conditions – hot, wet and even trained late nights. The preparations were really good,” he adds. “Currently, I’m unemployed and doing training full time but I hope I will get a job after this. Let’s see what happens when I return to India.

Double delight for India along with Sumit Antil’s gold medal as Devendra Jhajharia and Sundar Singh Gujar secure podium finish

Devendra Jhajharia

On a day that rained medals for India, Devendra Jhajharia and Sundar Singh Gujar secured second and third place in the javelin throw F-46 category. The silver medal was Jhajharia’s third medal at the Paralympics having bagged gold medals at the 2004 Athens and 2016 Rio games. The ace athlete can’t wait to celebrate his thrid medal with this daughter.

Can’t ask for more as I’m winning my third medal at the Paralympic Games,” said Jhajharia. “It’s a silver but I’m really happy. I can’t wait to hand it over to my daughter. All I manage to do is talk to her over the phone.

In the last seven months, I have met her once and only twice in two years. Such has been my tight training schedule and COVID-19 also made it impossible to travel. I was stuck in Gujarat and my daughter is in Jaipur and we are missing each other so much. Can’t wait to meet her,“ said the 40-year-old.

Jhajharia, who started off with two 60m throws before registering a throw of 64.35m, a personal best, shares that the conditions were testing. “The conditions were really testing with so much heat and humidity. I’m still grasping for breath. The performance still has been good. After those ordinary first two throws, I didn’t lose my concentration and want to keep my focus going. My experience helped me to get back into the contest and my third throw was good,” said Jhajharia.

Also Read | History! Gold for Sumit Antil in Javelin as India’s Medal Tally Continues to Grow at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics