36-year-old Devendra Jhajhariya had lost his left arm to an electric shock when he was eight years old. He has waited for 12 years to break the world record in Javelin and become the most decorated Indian Paralympic athlete today. Winner of the Arjuna Award and Padma Shri, Devendra won his second gold at the Rio Paralympics by breaking his own 2004 world record with a 63.97 metres javelin throw attempt.
Watch his record-breaking performance here
Born and raised in Churu, Rajasthan, Devendra lost his arm when he was climbing a tree and touched a high voltage cable. He had to miss out on the last two Paralympics because his impairment classification was not included. “Due to the F46 classification not being included in the subsequent 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Paralympics, Jhajharia didn’t get the opportunity to break his own record earlier,” reported Firstpost.
Indians are slowly but surely making a mark in the Paralympics with 20-year-old Mariyappan Thangavelu winning India’s first Rio gold in Men’s High Jump T42 category, with Varun Bhati taking the bronze as well. Thangavelu lost his leg when a bus drove over it and has already been promised a huge cash prize on his return.
Watch Thangavelu’s gold winning performance here
Women have also found their champion in Deepa Malik when the 45-year-old became the first Indian women to ever win a medal at the Paralympics, earning the silver medal in shot put. She was paralysed waist-down after the removal of a spinal tumor. After her win, BBC reported that, “Malik’s win also means that India’s Paralympians have already outperformed India’s Olympic contingent of more than 100 athletes.”
Although no TV coverage for the Paralympics is available in India, you can always see the games online. We hope the medal tally in Paralympics will get more attention from the media and the public alike.
Feature Image Courtesy: AP//Indian Express