Devendra Jhajharia Wins Javelin Gold At Rio Paralympics

- Saurabh Sharma   16-09-2016

          


Javeline Thrower Betters Own World Record

Devendra Jhajharia (born 10 June 1981) is an Indian Paralympic javelin thrower competing in F46 events. The first Indian Paralympian to win two gold medals at the Paralympics, he won his first gold in the javelin throw at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens, becoming only the second gold medalist at the Paralympics for his country. At the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, he won a second gold medal in the same event, bettering his previous record. Devendra is currently being supported by the GoSports Foundation through the Para Champions Programme.

Early Life and Background

Devendra Jhajharia was born in 1981 in a Jat Family and hails from the Churu District in Rajasthan. At the age of eight, while climbing a tree he touched a live electric cable. He received medical attention but the doctors were forced to amputate his left hand. In 1997 he was spotted by Dronacharya Awardee coach R.D. Singh while competing at a school sports day, and from that point was coached by Singh. He gave credit to his personal coach R.D. Singh for 2004 Paralympic Gold Medal, saying: "He gives me a lot of advice and helps me during training."

Career

In 2002 Jhajharia won the gold medal in the 8th FESPIC Games in South Korea. In 2004 Jhajharia qualified for his first Summer Paralaympic Games representing India at Athens. At the games he set a new world record with a distance of 62.15m eclipsing the old one of 59.77m. The throw gave him the gold medal and he became only the second gold medalist at the Paralympics for his country (India's first gold medal came from Murlikant Petkar).

Further athletic success came in 2013 at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France when he took the gold medal in the F46 javelin throw. He followed this with a silver medal at the 2014 Asian Para Games at Incheon in South Korea. At the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, despite throwing 59.06, Jhajharia could only finish in second place, claiming silver behind China's Guo Chunliang, who threw a championship record distance.

He won a gold medal at the 2016 IPC Athletics Asia-Oceania Championship in Dubai

RIO 2016-. At the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, he won the gold medal in the men's javelin throw F46 event, bettering his own 2004 record with a world-record throw of 63.97 metres. Jhajharia's gold took India's medal tally to 4, and total gold medals to 2.

Personal life

A former Indian Railways employee, Jhajharia is currently employed with the Sports Authority of India. His wife, Manju, is a former nationally-ranked kabaddi player; the couple have a daughter, Jiya (aged six) and a son, Kavyan (aged two).

He was electrocuted while climbing a tree when he was eight years old and his left hand had to be amputated. But that didn't deter him from pursuing his dreams. The track and field star won gold at the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) Athletics World Championships in Lyon in 2013.He last participated in the Paralympics 12 years ago. The F46 event did not feature in the 2008 and the 2012 editions.

Awards and recognition

FICCI Para-Sportsperson of the Year (2014)

Padma Shri (2012; first Paralympian to be so honoured)

Arjuna Award (2004)

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