Devendra Jhajharia: From thoughts of quitting javelin to eyeing his third gold at the 2021 Paralympics

Devendra Jhajharia: India's two-time Paralympic gold medalist
Devendra Jhajharia: India's two-time Paralympic gold medalist

Two-time Paralympic gold medalist Devendra Jhajharia is definitely one of the most decorated athletes in the history of Indian sports. All those years when India awaited a medal in track and field, the nation's champion para javelin thrower was doing his job silently.

However, all these laurels and accolades didn't come to him easily as he went through huge struggles. Devendra was eight years old when he suffered a devastating accident.

He was climbing a tree when he accidentally came in contact with an electric cable of 11000 volt, which destroyed his left hand. Devendra was rushed to the hospital where the doctors were forced to amputate his hand. The accident left the kid and his parents in trauma and depression.

As a child, Devendra was apprehensive of facing his friends. His mother was the one who forced him to play with other children. She wanted him to feel the normalcy around, just like any other individual.

Devendra Jhajharia's introduction to sports

Over time, Devendra started getting more inclined towards sports. When he was in the 10th standard, he started getting formal coaching in javelin. Soon Devendra Jhajharia was spotted by Dronacharya Awardee RD Singh, who changed the course of his life.

It was 2002 when Devendra got his first breakthrough to represent India. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands and bagged a gold medal at the 2002 FESPIC Games held in South Korea.

Devendra Jhajharia's major achievements and honors

Devendra was the flag bearer of the Indian contingent at the 2004 Athens Paralympics and won his first Paralympics gold medal at the event. He later went on to win his second gold at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Here's a list of his major achievements:

Paralympic Games

Gold - 2016 Rio Javelin - F46

Gold - 2004 Athens Javelin - F44/46

Asian Para Games

Silver - 2014 Incheon Javelin - F46

IPC World Championships

Gold - 2013 Lyon Javelin - F46

Silver - 2015 Doha Javelin - F46


Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna (2017)

FICCI Para-Sportsperson of the Year (2014)

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

Arjuna Award (2004)

Devendra Jhajharia wanted to quit sports

Devendra was on the verge of quitting javelin throw following the exclusion of the sport from the 2008 and 2012 editions of the Paralympic Games.

Devendra's wife Manju, a former national-level kabaddi player, persuaded him to keep going and not give up.

The 40-year-old Jhajharia won his first gold in the F-46 category at the 2004 Athens Games and then had to wait another 12 long years for his second gold medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Devendra Jhajharia's next target

Devendra never leaves the javelin out of his sight. He always keeps that in his room so that he can see his target 24 hours a day. Devendra Jhajharia is very clear about what he wants when he enters the stadium in Tokyo.

2021 will be his third Paralympic appearance and he is keen on clinching his third gold medal at the Games.

Also read: From poliomyelitis to 2021 Paralympics - Parul Parmar wants to make opportunity count at Tokyo Games

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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