India’s first Paralympic to win gold, Devendra Jhajharia, is resolute in his efforts to fulfil his late father’s wish of accomplishing a hat-trick of gold medals in Paralympics, 2021.
The only Indian who exhibited two individual gold medals in Paralympics, winning the javelin throw in F-46 category at the 2004 Athens and 2016 Rio Paralympic games- both a world record throw.
The Rajiv Gandhi Khel, Ratna Award winner, has expeditated a long way from an 8-year-old whose left hand was amputated after coming in contact with high power electric wire while climbing a tree in his village Churu in Rajasthan to a well-seasoned athlete in Rio about to make his mark at this year’s Paralympics beginning august 24, Tokyo.
He’s fought a long battle as he evolved physically and emotionally into a skilled athlete, fighting tooth and nail to make a mark in a society that composes very few supporters followed by a conglomerate of those who belittle the strong spirit of the differently-abled.
40 is the new 20
Devendra Jhajharia carries determination in his eyes, synonymous with Arjuna from Mahabharata as he aimed to hit the bird’s eye.
He’s burned midnight oil training intensely in the last seven months at the Sports Authority of India, Gandhinagar.
He fine-tuned his training rigorously to match the fitness level of a 20- year-old as he reduced 7kgs and managed to throw a 65.71m in the final trial of the Paralympics, held at New Delhi in June.
The athlete also spoke of the support he’s received from his family, especially his children, as they wait for their father to come home; however, his son is a little adamant about being away from his father for too long.
An athlete’s family makes just enough sacrifices as the athlete itself for the far-fetched goal in favour of the nation, India is bent on wiping off its old records with the new ones.
When it came to the Olympics earlier this month, it sent the largest contingent that seemed fruitful as it brought home seven medals, a record for the country.
It seems to repeat the same with Paralympics, with the delegation rose from 19 in 2016 to a whopping 54 in 2021.
Devendra is enthralled and fueled with energy as his fellow member nations back him as the Prime Minister sends the contingent off to the games.
It speaks volumes of the increasing development in the sports culture. Increasing awareness and recognition of sports coupled with government and former medalist’s support makes things seem hopeful for the new generation of athletes.