Just forty-eight hours after his return from the Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games with a world record effort, Sandeep Chaudhary was back in the training grounds in New Delhi, India, toiling hard with a new target on his mind.
The 60.01m throw in Jakarta broke the previous world record set in 2011 by Chinese Mingjie Gao (59.82m). It was also India’s first ever gold in Javelin F44 event. For Chaudhary, it was just the beginning of a journey.
And the journey has been so far so good, two world records in a span of eight months. At the Grosseto Grand Prix in Italy earlier this month, Chaudhary added a remarkable five metres on to his previous world record mark, finishing the competition with a best of 65.80m. The record show also earned him a ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
“The road was long. And I had new target set in my mind. I knew I had to focus. It was just the beginning.”
“The aim was to better my personal best which will also break my previous world record. I am so happy that that I am improving my distance each time. I hope I can do this at the World Championship in Dubai and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics as well,” Chaudhary told Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) in an interview.
In between, the thrower has also hurled the javelin to a distance of 61.61m at the Indian Open Para-athletics Championship in Bengaluru, and 61.67m at the Haryana State Meet, both en route to gold medals, before his incredible throw in Italy. The latest achievement also seemed like a strong warning to his opponents ahead of the Dubai 2019 World Para Athletics World Championships in November. However, the recent results put the 23-year-old as firm favourite for the World event – no one has yet thrown over 60 metres so far this season; in fact, Chaudhary was the only one to do so last year too.
“I am already excited about the World Championship in Dubai. Last time at the London 2017 event, nothing worked in my favour. I also didn’t have much experience and didn’t know to control my emotions. Now, I am a different player; matured and confident. I will be going to Dubai aiming for the gold,” he recollected the memories of last Worlds where he finished fifth.
Fear of missing out
The para javelin thrower said the fear of missing out on medals narrowly at Rio 2016 Paralympics (fourth place) and World Para Athletics Championships 2017 crossed his mind quite often. And that gave him the extra push.
“I didn’t want to experience that again. That two failures were very hard to overcome. I had cried and spent sleepless nights.”
Owing to the support of GoSports Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation which supports the training and preparation of India's top athletes, Chaudhary has a full support staff including fitness trainer, physiotherapist, masseur, nutritionist etc. besides his long-time coach Naval Singh.
However, the para-athlete is hoping to gain some foreign training in his preparations for Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. Currently, he is preparing at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in New Delhi, the capital of India.
“I have been trying hard to get a sanction (from Paralympic Committee of India and Sports Authority of India) for my foreign training. It’s always an advantage if one gets to train in better facility, good climatic conditions and with the best of equipment. The training before Indonesia 2018 in Finland was very fruitful. I hope I can do my best for the Games. I won’t let go this opportunity,” he added hoping to compensate with the gold this time.(Interview by Asian Paralympic Committee)