There was a lot of talk about Neeraj Chopra, who ended the country’s wait for years by winning the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics. But there is also a player in India whose record has not been broken till now. That player is Javelin Thrower Devendra Jhajharia. This 40-year-old track athlete has an amazingly positive mindset. He has always considered the glass to be half full, not half empty. Despite a difficult journey and difficulties that we cannot even imagine, he not only achieved success, but also brought two gold medals to the country.
Jhajharia is the only Indian to have won two gold medals in any Olympic or Paralympic Games. He won the first medal at the 2004 Athens Paralympics and the second at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. Devendra, the country’s prestigious honor Padma Shri He is the first para-athlete to be awarded. In the year 2004, he was awarded for his contribution in the field of sports. Arjuna Award was also awarded.
You will be stunned to know that he has done all these amazing feats with just one hand.
Where did you get the inspiration to overcome the difficulties that come in the way of success?
Responding to this question, this Paralympian said, “When I looked around, I saw many people who did not have both arms or both legs. Seeing them, I felt that I am very lucky to have at least my right hand.”
By Accident, the Journey of Winning
Devendra Jhajharia was born in a farmer family in Churu district of Rajasthan. From childhood, he used to play with friends like a normal child. But then playing was his only hobby.
When he turned eight, at that young age, his life changed forever. He told in an interview, “I was climbing a tree in my village and accidentally touched a live cable. That cable was 11,000 volts. The accident was so serious that my left hand had to be amputated immediately. At that time no one was sure that I would ever be able to recover from this.”
But, a true sportsman never backs down. Devendra’s life is a living example of this. Devendra’s friends and villagers often mocked and criticized him. But because of this, Devendra got the inspiration to do something big. Soon, they started seeing games played with only one hand. For this, he used to go to the sports ground of his school every day.
Devendra said, “Whoever saw me, would have told my parents that his life was ruined. Think for a moment, if someone said this about your child, how would you feel as a parent? But my parents never let me realize that they were feeling bad. I was trying my best not to look weak in the eyes of the world. And the only way to do that was to be successful, to be a champion. To be a champion, you have to be a player. So I started paying more attention to the game. I started practicing every day since I was in class 10th and soon became the district champion in the open category. I kept on winning medals in inter-college, district and state events.
The first spear was made from bamboo
The home may have been short of money, but this athlete’s heart was full of determination. To begin his training, Devendra made his first spear from locally available bamboo.
Thus began the journey from a common player to a star gold medalist. Since then, he has trained tirelessly and made constant efforts to achieve glory both at the national and global level.
Making a world record was a right hand job
There is nothing out of the ordinary about this track star. While qualifying for the Tokyo Games, he also set a new world record (at the Paralympics) by throwing the javelin to 65.71 m, breaking his own record. For now, his goal is to win his third Paralympic gold medal.
Talking about his preparations for the big event, he said, “I am working hard and following a well thought out program set by my personal coach Sunil Tanwar. I am confident that I will win a gold medal in Tokyo, just like in Athens and Rio.
Devendra Jhajharia has not only made his mark on the world stage, despite many big hurdles, but his success has drawn the attention of the people towards Paralympic Games and a new discussion has also started about it.
Facilities for Para-athletes
Devendra said, “Now the government is also working for Divyangjan. Since the time I started playing, the attitude of people has changed a lot. Now people do not think that people with disabilities are incapable of doing great things. But much more still needs to be done. If you look abroad, there are multipurpose stadiums for para-athletes where people in wheelchairs can go anywhere and play any sport.”
We hope that Devendra and other players like him and their needs will be taken care of. Many congratulations to Devendra and all the players like him from The Better India.
Original article – Riya Gupta
Edit – Human Cut
Also read: Disabled IAS officer brightens up India’s name; Won Silver in Para-Badminton!