Rio Paralympics: Javelin thrower Jhajharia creates history, wins another gold

Devendra Jhajharia

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 in Rio de Janeiro.

Devendra, who won his previous gold in the 2004 Athens Games, bettered his own world record to finish on top in the men’s F46 event.

Devendra Jhajharia

IMAGE: Devendra Jhajharia of India poses next to an information board showing his new world record in the event. Photograph: Ricardo Moraes /Reuters.

Devendra, whose previous best was 62.15 metres (achieved in the 2004 Games), improved the mark with an attempt of 63.97 metres at the Olympic Stadium (Engenhao).

India now have two gold, one silver and one bronze in the ongoing edition of the Games.

Another Indian Rinku Hooda, who also competed in the event, finished fifth with a personal best of 54.39 metres in six attempts, while Sundar Singh Gurjar didn’t start the event.

The Rajasthan born athlete had lost his left hand when he was electrocuted while climbing a tree as an eight-year-old. But he continued to follow his dream and went on to achieve the Arjuna award in 2004 and the Padma Shri in 2012, becoming the first Paralympian to receive the honour.

Devendra Jhajharia

IMAGE: Devendra Jhajharia of India competes. Photograph: Ricardo Moraes /Reuters.

Devendra, who won the gold at the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Athletics World Championships in Lyon in 2013, last participated in the Paralympics 12 years ago as the F46 event did not feature in the 2008 and the 2012 editions.

Currently ranked third in the world, Devendra swelled India’s medal tally at Rio to four medals — two golds, one silver and a bronze.

Thangavelu Mariyappan had earlier struck gold in the men’s high jump, while Varun Bhati had secured a bronze in the same event.

Later, Deepa Malik won a silver in the women’s shot put event to add to the tally.