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Who is Devendra Jhajharia? 5 things you didn't know about India's Paralympics 2021 javelin throw gold medal hope

Devendra Jhajharia (Credits: Devendra Jhajharia Twitter)
Devendra Jhajharia (Credits: Devendra Jhajharia Twitter)
Vedant Chandel
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Devendra Jhajharia, the reigning Paralympics champion in the javelin throw discipline, will be leading India's challenge at the 2021 Tokyo edition of the quadrennial event.

The 40-year-old Churu native won the gold medal five years ago in Rio and will be eyeing yet another podium finish this time around.

Jhajaria has kept a low profile throughout his long career, but his story has been nothing short of extraordinary. Here, we have listed five relatively unknown facts about the Indian track-and-field star.

#1. Devendra Jhajharia has not one, but two Paralympic gold medals to his name

Devendra Jhajhria's 2016 Rio Paralympic gold medal is still fresh in the memory of several Indian sporting fans. The win in the Brazilian city, however, was not the first time that the Indian had found himself at the pinnacle.

Jhajharia's first Paralympic medal had in fact come at the 2004 Athens Games, where he had won gold at the young age of 23. A rising star back then, he had surprised everyone by finishing at the top with a superb throw of 62.15 meters.

#2. Devendra Jhajharia was the first athlete to have crossed the 60-meter mark in his discipline

Devendra Jhajharia with his 2004 Athens gold medal. (Credits: Devendra Jhajharia Twitter)
Devendra Jhajharia with his 2004 Athens gold medal. (Credits: Devendra Jhajharia Twitter)

It is pertinent to note that Devendra Jhajharia's gold medal-winning throw of 62.15 meters in Athens was the first time that an athlete had crossed the 60-meter mark in his discipline.

Jhajharia's effort saw him leave the rest of the field behind in Athens as well as the previous world record of 59.77 meters by quite a big margin.

#3. Devendra Jhajharia was India's flag-bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Paralympics

Devendra Jhajharia carrying India's flag at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Paralympics. (Credits: Devendra Jhajharia Twitter)
Devendra Jhajharia carrying India's flag at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Rio Paralympics. (Credits: Devendra Jhajharia Twitter)

Devendra Jhajharia was chosen to be India's flagbearer at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. The 40-year-old led the Indian contingent at the Parade of Nations during the opening ceremony of the Games.

#4. Devendra Jhajharia broke his own world record to secure gold in Rio

Devendra Jhajharia at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. (Credits: Devendra Jhajharia Twitter)
Devendra Jhajharia at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. (Credits: Devendra Jhajharia Twitter)

Devendra Jhajharia lived up to the expectations of Indian fans at the Rio Paralympics as he went on to secure his second gold medal on the world's biggest sporting stage.

Jhajharia's second shot at glory was even sweeter as he not only brought home a second title, but also managed to break his long-standing world record by throwing a mammoth 63.97 meters in the final.

#5. Devendra Jhajharia became the first Paralympian to be awarded the Khel Ratna in 2017

Devendra Jhajharia's heroics at the Rio Paralympics were widely celebrated back home in India. The win earned him the status as one of the country's most successful Paralympic athletes of all time.

The status was later cemented as Jhajharia became the first Paralympian to be awarded the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna in 2017.


Edited by Arjun Panchadar

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