TOKYO — It was a highly successful day for India on Aug. 30 at the Tokyo Paralympics as at the halfway mark, the country surpassed its previous best medal tally with two gold medals. Yet, among the gold rush, shining brightest was champion Javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia’s silver.
India’s most successful Paralympian, Jhajharia, went for ultimate glory, only falling short of what would have been his third gold medal.
The 40-year-old won gold at Athens 2004 and Rio 2016, finished second in the ongoing Tokyo Paralympics. Jhajharia’s quest for his third medal in the Games was fulfilled after a personal best throw of 64.35 meters, a testament to the veteran’s longevity dexterity.
“I want to thank every citizen of the country who prayed for me,” Jhajharia said.
“My aim was for gold, but in sports, there are ups and downs. But it’s good that I have registered a hat-trick of medals for India. I am extremely happy.”
The Indian para-athlete thanked his parents for their constant support. He said his daughter wanted gold, but he is happy to win a silver medal.
“I want to thank my parents who sent me to the ground for taking up the sport and my coaches,” he said.
“I am feeling happy and will meet my daughter. She had called me yesterday and said ‘papa gold medal jeetna hai’ (Papa, you can get the gold medal) but I won a silver medal, I am happy.”
The javelin thrower registered 60.28 meters, 60.62 meters in his first two attempts before firing 64.35 meters to clinch silver.
Jhajharia said his experience of facing pressure situations helped him come with a good throw after a decent start.
“My experience came in handy today as I had the experience of tackling pressure,” he said.
“My third throw was good. At one point in time, I was not in contention for a medal, but my confidence and my willpower made it possible.”
India’s only Paralympian with three individual medals started out with the javelin at eight when electrocution meant his left arm below the elbow had to be amputated. He was climbing a tree in his Rajasthan village when the accident happened.
Jhajharia decided right away that he would lead a life of dignity and would not take stigma or sympathy that latches on to disabilities.
He won India its maiden gold in 2004 but had to wait for the two subsequent Paralympics out because his category was excluded from the games. Upon his return to the games in Rio, Jhajharia brought home a second piece of gold and has only bettered the best individual record at Paralympics with a thor medal.
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Saptak Datta and Krishna Kakani
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