Star Indian para athlete Devendra Jhajaria added to his legacy by clinching a silver medal in the men’s javelin throw F46 category at the Tokyo Paralympics on Monday. It saw him complete a hat-trick of medals at the Paralympics.
The premier Indian javelin thrower had bagged a gold medal each at Athens 2004 and Rio 2016. He could not participate at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 as his event was not listed in the Paralympic programme. And with a Tokyo Paralympic medal,, Jhajharia has become the most decorated Indian para athlete ever.
And for Jhajharia it was a dream come true, registering a distance of 64.35m in the final to record a new personal best and earn another spot at the podium.
"It was my life’s dream that I complete a hat-trick of Olympic medals, I have achieved that today. I am very happy. Every medal has its own importance. Every athlete dreams of winning an Olympic medal, I have won three. And the gap of 17 years makes me feel even prouder," Jhajharia told Olympics.com.
The 40-year-old was aiming for another gold at Tokyo but has taken the slight disappointment in his stride.
"Definitely (feel like I missed gold). I tried my best and registered my personal best as well. But that’s how sport is, sometimes your competition does better. It’s part of the game," he added.
The hot and humid atmosphere in Tokyo has been a major concern for the athletes throughout the Olympics and Paralympics.
Jhajharia also felt that the atmosphere could have affected his performance but believes that the Indian Paralympics contingent can record a double figure medal count in Tokyo. It must be noted that India have already won seven medals at the Tokyo Paralympics.
"It was very hot. Especially since our event started at 11 am and it was very humid as well. Maybe it affected the performance. But it’s part of the game, it’s the same for everyone," Jhajharia said.
"We have given a super performance and I would like to congratulate everyone. It is almost an unbelievable performance by our para athletes. I hope we can get more medals. India has never made it to double figures (number of medals) in Olympics or Paralympics, I think we will achieve that in Tokyo," he added.
Furthermore, the decorated Paralympian feels the attitude of people towards athletes like him has changed after his achievements for the country.
"When I started they didn’t let me enter the ground, saying what will you do here? Now they tell differently abled people to become Devendra Jhajharia. I have seen these changes first hand. But a lot still needs to be done," he added.
At 40, Jhajharia, will prepare for the Asian Games next.
"I have to come back to India, have to meet my daughter. I haven’t been with my family for almost a year and a half, I miss them a lot. After that, I will start preparations for Asian Games," he added.