Devendra Jhajharia, Paralympic Javelin thrower from Churu district in Rajasthan is a part of the Indian contingent who is to compete in the Tokyo Paralympics-2021 held in Japan scheduled from August 24 to September 5, 2021. Jhajharia who is set to compete in F46 events, is India’s most successful Paralympic athlete with 2 Olympic Gold medals to his name. He is presently targeting for the third gold medal in the upcoming Tokyo Paralympics 2021.
“I had to wait for 12 years after winning my first gold medal in 2004. I made the most of the opportunity and bagged my second gold at Rio de Janeiro. I don’t want to miss this opportunity in Tokyo,” said Jhajharia to Paralympics.
The 40 year old is still maintaining his standard level of fitness and has got another chance to compete in Paralympics and is the most successful Paralympic javelin thrower in the world. He also holds the world record of winning gold twice in 2004 and 2016.
“I am training hard and following a well-thought-out programme set by my personal coach Sunil Tanwar. I am confident that just like in Athens and Rio, I will win a gold medal in Tokyo too,” said Jhajharia, who has also been honoured with the Padma Shri, the top civilian award given by the Indian government.
‘I believe I am competing against myself’ – Devendra Jhajharia
Born on June 10, 1981, Jhajharia experienced an unfortunate event of his left arm being amputated after coming in contact with a live high-power electrical wire when he was just 8. But he was not deterred, rather went on to toil hard towards his goal and clinched his maiden Olympic gold in 2004 Olympic games held in Athens under the F44/46 category. Unfortunately the F46 category was included in the competition for the next two edition of Olympic games in 2008 and 2012 and consequently missed the chance to compete in the games.
“When I set the world record for the first time in 2004, it stayed till 2016 when I broke the record myself. Now, for Tokyo, I have set myself the target to further extend the world record so that it stays in my name for many years,” said Jhajaria.
But Jhajaria was not deterred by these unfortunate events as the paralympic javelin thrower again represented India in the 2016 Olympic games held in Rio de Janeiro. Previously he had et the world record of He used this opportunity efficiently and went on to break his old record throwing the javelin to a distance of 63.97 metres.
“I believe I am competing against myself. I know that I hold the world record and I am confident that I can break it again. Going, by the way, I am training and my fitness levels, I am 100 percent confident that I can break the world record again,” Jhajharia said.
It is noteworthy to state that in 2017, Jhajharia became the first Para athlete to receive the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna- the highest sports award provided by the Indian government. He had also won a gold (2013) and a silver medal at World Championships, a silver in the Asian Para Games, gold at 2002 FESPIC Games in South Korea and a gold medal at the 2016 Asia-Oceania Championship in Dubai.
This is the final chance for the Javelin veteran to make a hat-trick of the international gold medals in his career and become the first Indian javelin athlete to do so. The Paralympian is set to make his final outing to Paralympics as he cannot be eligible for the next event held in 2024 in Paris. So Indian fans would hope Jhajharia achieves his remarkable dream in the historic event and uphold the pride of India amongst the world nations.