3 Paralympics, 3 medals, 2 Gold, 1 Silver - Devendra Jhajharia is India's GOAT para-athlete
Devendra Jhajharia won the silver medal in Men's Javelin Throw F46 category at the Tokyo Paralympics
The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be is what we can say for India's most successful and one of the finest para-athlete Devendra Jhajharia. The Javelin Thrower continued his fine showing at the Paralympic Games with yet another medal at the Tokyo Paralympics. Devendra Jhajharia won the silver medal in the Men's Javelin Throw F46 category.
His silver at the Tokyo Games takes his overall individual tally to three medals and he's now level with legendary Paralympian Joginder Singh Bedi who also has three medals to his name at the Paralympic Games. Devendra has won two gold medals and one silver, whereas Joginder had won one silver and two bronze medals all of which came at the 1984 Paralympics in three different events.
Devendra, who was spotted by coach R.D. Singh in 1997 in a school competition, began his Paralympic journey in 2004 when he competed at the Athens Games and won the gold medal in Men's Javelin throw event. He also set a new World Record at the event with his throw of 62.15m. However, Devendra had to wait for 12 years to win his second medal as he once again won the gold, this time at the Rio Paralympics in 2016. In the process, he once again set a new World and Paralympic record with his effort of 63.97m.
Devendra looked all set for yet another triumphant Paralympics Games in Tokyo, however, just like the entire world, his preparation was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The quarantine rules made life difficult for Devendra as he couldn't continue his training but dealing with adversity has been a part of his life since he was eight years old when his arm was amputated after getting electrocuted by a live wire.
Devendra didn't let the pandemic affect his training as he started exercising using a gas cylinder and his car tyres as weights. The goal was to ensure that he didn't put up a lot of weight while staying inside the house, as that would make him slow which would eventually have repercussions on his performance. Devendra was also supported by his wife, who helped him as his fitness trainer, and his coach to ensure that he maintains his fitness.
The pandemic wasn't the only challenge during his preparation, as Devendra also lost his father in October 2020 and one could only imagine the mental toll on the athlete but his family ensured that he didn't stop his training as his late father also wanted him to succeed at the Tokyo Paralympics.
Going into the Tokyo Games, also his third Paralympics, there were high hopes from Devendra Jhajharia and he didn't disappoint. His third attempt of 64.35m was good enough to secure the silver medal and he also improved on his personal best of 63.97m which was set at the Rio Paralympics.
At the age of 40, one can expect Devendra to participate in at least two more Paralympic Games and it wouldn't be a surprise if he wins a couple of more medals. For now, Devendra Jhajharia has his name in the history books and can surely be referred to as the greatest of all time of Indian para-sports.