TOKYO — Indian javelin thrower Sumit Antil took home India’s second gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics 2020 on Aug. 30 after sending the soaring spear past the previous world record five times on the day, a record in itself.
The 23-year-old broke the world record of 62.88 meters, also set by himself. His best throw landed at 68.55 meters in his penultimate attempt, which sent the single-leg amputee from India’s northern state of Haryana over the moon.
However, Antil said after the competition that while he was satisfied with a stunning Paralympic debut, he had his eyes on breaching the 70-meter mark.
“I wanted to touch the 70-meter mark, but I am very happy with my performance,” said Antil.
“In one competition, I was able to break the world record thrice. And I was also able to win the gold medal. I cannot express how I am feeling right now. I am just numb, to be honest.”
Antil very comprehensively won gold in the men’s javelin throw (Sport Class F-64) at the National Stadium in Tokyo. Athletes with one prosthetic for a leg amputation who compete in a standing position classify for the F-64 category.
He dominated the show from the word go as he improved the World Record three times in the final. He threw a monstrous throw of 68.55 meters in his fifth attempt to climb on the top of the podium.
“This is my first Paralympics, so the pressure was there on me. People had expectations from me. The pressure was there, and hence I was not able to sleep for two nights. Yesterday, I did not sleep at all, but I am very happy with my performance,” said Sumit.
“I want to thank my family, the Sports Authority of India, and the Paralympic Committee of India. I also want to thank the entire country for supporting me. My coaches also played a big role, and I am grateful to him for guiding me.”
The wunderkind who went first in the field gave an uphill task to all contenders as he started the final by breaking his own world record with a throw of 66.95 meters. The previous world record was 62.88 meters, which Antil improved by over four meters in his very first attempt.
Antil looked like a man on a mission as he threw the javelin for another world record in the second attempt of the final for 68.08 meters. He improved the previous best, which he created on his first attempt by 1.13 meters. He then threw 65.27 meters and 66.71 meters in the third and fourth attempts.
For his fifth attempt, the Indian again went big and, this time again, shattered the world record with a throw of 68.55m. Only the last throw Antil sent ended in a foul. The tally read: 66.95, 68.08, 65.27, 66.71, 68.55, and foul.
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Amrita Das and Krishna Kakani
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