Some people are meant to achieve the heights of success and some are meant to repeat that feat, only for the world to marvel at their achievements. The Javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia became the first Indian to clinch two gold medals at the Paralympics after he broke his own world record to clinch the top honours at the Rio Games. With this, Devendra also took India's tally at this edition of the Paralympics to four medals – two golds, one silver and a bronze.
Jhajharia's historic effort came in his third attempt. But he was comfortably leading the field through the competition, and never looked in doubt of losing out on his second gold medal in his second appearance at the Paralympics.
The 36-year-old is currently ranked third in the world. Previously, he had won gold at the 2004 Athens Paralympics with a throw of 62.15 metres with which he set a world record. He improved upon it with an attempt of 63.97 metres at the Olympic Stadium (Engenhao) in Rio, thus becoming only the second gold medallist at the Paralympics for his country.
Javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia has won two gold medals in the men's F46 Javelin Throw. The F46 classification is an impairment type for upper limb/s affected by limb deficiency, impaired muscle power or impaired range of movement according to the IPC Athletics classifications, as reported by the Paralymics.org website. When he was just 8 years old, he lost arm while climbing a tree and accidentally got electrocuted. His left arm had to be amputated. His one arm was gone but his will didn't.
"I must have been eight or nine years old when I got an electric shock. I was climbing a tree in my village in the Churu district of Rajasthan and accidentally touched a live cable, which was apparently an 11,000-volt cable. So severe was the accident that let alone my left hand — it had to be amputated right away — nobody was sure whether I would be able to recover from it", he was quoted as saying. However, he took up sport because he felt he was blessed to still have an arm. "When I looked around, I saw a lot of people who didn’t have arms or legs and I realised that I am lucky enough to have my right hand. I was interested in sports and that was enough motivation for me", he said.
The Rajasthan born athlete, with an amputated left hand, was awarded the Arjuna award in 2004 and the Padma Shri in 2012, becoming the first Paralympian to receive the honour. Acknowledging the achievement, the Rajasthan state Government has announced to award Rs 75 Lakh to the athlete, also 200 Square metres of plot in the state capital city, Jaipur.
Devendra Jhajharia's two gold medals at the Paralympics, an event at par with the Olympics, make him the torchbearer for Indian sports alongside the likes of Abhinav Bindra and MC Mary Kom.