Devendra Jhajharia: The two-time Paralympic gold-medallist who is aiming his third at Tokyo

Jhajharia's journey hasn't been an easy one but he has faced all challenges bravely to become a sporting champion.

Saurabh Ganguly Author

Updated - 23 August 2021 10:49 am

Despite seemingly insurmountable challenges on his way, star javelin thrower Devendra Jhajaria has brought laurels to the country one after the other. When he heads to the Paralympic Games 2020, set to begin later this month, he will have his eyes set on another medal. Jhajaria is the only Indian to have ever won two gold medals at any Olympic or Paralympic games- one at the 2004 Athens Paralympics to go with the other at 2016 Rio.

He was also the owner of the world record mark 62.15 m and is also the first para-athlete to be given the prestigious Padma Shri. Moreover, he is also the recipient of the Arjuna Award for his contribution to the field of sports in India. However, as one would imagine, his journey hasn't been an easy one and yet he managed to achieve all these feats with one arm.

Lost an arm as an eight-year-old

"When I looked around I saw so many people who didn’t have both arms or both legs and I thought I was lucky to have my right hand," Jhajharia had told India Times while talking about his motivation towards his sporting excellence.

"I was climbing a tree in my village and accidentally touched a live cable, which was apparently an 11,000-volt cable. So severe was the accident that (my left hand) had to be amputated right away — nobody was sure whether I would be able to recover from it," he had told The Hindu.

Was striving to not make myself appear weak to the world: Jhajharia

This was when he was just eight years old as his life changed forever. However, facing sympathetic criticism from his near ones in his friend circle and village gave him the fighting spirit to work hard to make it big. He reached out to the sports field of his school and looked out for a sport that required just one arm.

"I was striving to not make myself appear weak to the world. And the only way to achieve it was to succeed, to be a champion. To be a champion, you had to be a sportsman, so I started focusing more on the sport," he said in the same interview to The Hindu.

So determined was he to achieve the success that he made his first javelin with locally available bamboo when financial resources weren't available at his disposal and gradually it was this fire in him that helped him reach places.

"I am training hard and following a well-thought-out program set by my personal coach Sunil Tanwar. I am confident that just like in Athens and Rio, I will win a gold medal in Tokyo too," he told Paralympics.org about his preparation ahead of Tokyo 2020.

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