Meet the 8 Indian javelin throwers at the Tokyo Paralympics
Each athlete has a unique story that has brought them to pick up the javelin and they deserve all the praise and credit prior to their departure to Tokyo
There will be 8 Javelin throwers representing India at Tokyo Paralympics.
Probably the most notable name of them all, Devendra Jhajaria first picked up the javelin while he was in school and has been competing professionally from a very young age. His hand was amputated when he was just 8 years old after he touched an electric cable while climbing a tree. This did not prevent him from pursuing the sport and he thrived under his first coach RD Singh. Devendra has won gold at the 2004 Paralympics and Rio Paralympics along with setting a world record of 63.97 meters in the same event. He also won medals at the IPC World Championships and was India's 2nd gold medalist in the Paralympics.
Ajeet Singh will be competing in the F-46 category. His story dates to 2017 when he lost his left arm in a train accident while he was attempting to save his friend. It seems unthinkable to seem him at the Olympics just 4 years on, but he has made a phenomenal recovery to battle back and pursue his passion. His coach VK Dabas played a crucial role in getting him to where he is today. In 2019, Ajeet won a bronze at the World Championships along with a gold in China in another para-athletic championships. He qualified for the Olympics based on his performance at the World Championships and the 27-year-old will be looking to claim a medal in Tokyo as well.
The 25-year-old is a gold medalist at the 2019 World para-athletics championship and Asian Games in 2019. Sandeep Chaudhary will be competing in his first Paralympic games in the F-64 event. His left leg became crippled when he was just 12 years old due to an accident that restricted the joint movements. Despite that, he worked on his strengths and passion for sports which brought him to picking up the javelin. He began training in 2014 under his coach, Naval Singh and only saw his career progress higher and higher since then. He made it to the list of Forbes Asia 30 under 30 and was also awarded the Arjuna Award in 2020.
Sundar Singh Gurjar
The former general category thrower lost his left arm in 2015 while helping a friend with some house construction work. It was not to deter him as he stepped up the very same year to claim his qualification for the Rio Paralympics. Disaster struck when he reached later prior to his event at Rio and was eventually disqualified from participating for being 52 seconds late. He was a definite medal hopeful then and will be so at Tokyo as well when he steps up to make up for his several years of training and hard work. For Sundar, the battle has been long and hard but his 4 gold medals in the IPC Championships 2017, IPC Dubai Grand Prix 2016 and 2017 along with the National Para Championships are all a showcase of his talent.
Another competitor in the F-64 category who unfortunately lost his leg in a bike accident. In 2015, he was returning home from a class late one evening in Sonipat when a tractor rammed his bike. Sumit woke up to the news that he would have a prosthetic leg fitted. The former wrestler was on course to make a career out of wrestling given that he grew up competing in the famous akhadas of Sonipat. However, it was a video of Oscar Pistorious that inspired him to compete in para sports with the javelin throw being on top of the list. The 22-year-old has won silver at the 2019 world Championships and also competed with Neeraj Chopra in the Indian Grand Prix held earlier this year where he threw 66.43m.
He will be competing in the F-41 category. This category is meant for people with height problems or those who are of short stature. Navdeep qualified for the Paralympics with a throw of 43.58 to take home the gold medal at the recent World Para Athletics Grand held in Dubai this year. His first ever tournament was the Asian Youth Para Games back in 2017 and he will be looking to make it big at his first ever Paralympic games.
He will be competing in the F-54 category. He came 6th in the World Para Championships in 2019. Tek Chand took up javelin in 2016 and was coached by Satbir Singh. He won a bronze medal at the Para Asian games in 2018 and qualified for the Olympics earlier this year. Tek Chand was disabled back in 2005 during a road accident and has kept all obstacles behind him to get to where he is today. He hails from the Rewari district in Haryana.
Ranjeet Bhati even had a fund raiser or Milaap to highlight his plight before being recognised for his talent. His achievements include a Gold Medal in the Wheelchair Rugby National Tournament, Silver in in the javelin throw at the Haryana State Paralympics Championship 2018. He also attained 4th Position in Javelin in 18th National Para Athletics Championship and won gold in the same tournament in 2021. He began taking competitive javelin throwing seriously since 2017 and has performed exceptionally well since then. He hails from Faridabad in Haryana.