You might see me in action again at 2024 Paris Paralympics — Devendra Jhajharia
The Tokyo Paralympics silver medallist, Devendra Jhajharia spoke exclusively to The Bridge after his win today.
Devendra Jhajharia is an ever-green man of Indian sports. He was there in the early 2000s and he is here now in the early 2020s, going just as strong as he was back then. The 40-year-old today clinched the silver medal in Men's T46 Javelin Throw at the ongoing Tokyo Paralympics with a stunning throw of 64.35m in the final.
This was Devendra Jhajharia's third medal at the Paralympics and his first which is not coloured yellow. He was 23-year-old when he first tasted the Paralympics success - a gold at the 2004 Athens Games. He then had to miss the 2008 and 2012 editions because his category was not a part of the Games. He wanted to quit the sport because he was unable to compete in the Paralympics.
But, something told him to hang on; and it was probably the best decision Devendra Jhajharia has made in his career.
With his category included at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, Devendra came back hard and walked away with a world record-breaking gold - 12 years after he first achieved the feat.
17 years after his gold in Athens, Devendra Jhajharia was just as enthusiastic in Tokyo. He wanted one more medal around his neck. The way he carried himself at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo showed just that. And so did the way in which he interacted with The Bridge in an exclusive conversation.
"I am very happy that I have completed a hat-trick of medals for India in the Paralympics. This has always been my dream, and I feel blessed to have achieved it. I definitely wanted to win a gold medal, but the Srilankan threw better. It is a part and parcel of sports, and I am very satisfied with the way I have performed," Devendra said.
Devendra seemed very calm on the field even after Sri Lanka's Dinesh Priyan Herath set a new World Record in his third attempt.
"Even after the Sri Lankan set the world record I was calm. I just wanted to give my best in every throw. Even, I broke the previous world record but it was just his day. I tried my best, but the gold medal wasn't meant to be this time," he stated.
The silver medallist worked on his bettering his run-up speed and arm strength before the Tokyo Paralympics.
"After a certain age your speed reduces, so I had to work consciously on that. My coach even helped me strengthen my arm strength. I won the 2016 gold working with him, and so he knows my body very well which eventually helped in winning this medal," Devendra said.
When enquired about lessons he has learnt from his campaign in Tokyo, Devendra had a very interesting answer.
"You learn something new every time you play a tournament. This time around it was how to handle corona," he said with a chuckle.
Devendra is also has a clear idea of his future. Will we see him again at the Paralympics?
"The very first thing in my mind is going home and hugging my daughter tight. I saw a video of her and my wife celebrating, they were so happy about this win. As far as my career is considered, you never know. I might be in action at the 2024 Paris Paralympics as well," he signs off.