Devendra Jhakharia is the first Indian to win two gold medals at Rio Paralympics on Tuesday after breaking his own record with a throw of 63.7m in the men's F46 Javelin Throw.
The F46 classification is an impairment type for upper limb(s) affected by limb deficiency, impaired muscle power or impaired range of movement according to the IPC Athletics classifications, according to the Paralymics website.
Born in Churu District in Rajasthan, Devendra met with a fatal accident when he was just 8 years old. He touched a live electric wire while climbing a tree which inevitably amputated his left hand.
According to Paralympics.org, he said, “I must have been eight or nine years old when I got an electric shock. I was climbing a tree in my village in the Churu district of Rajasthan and accidentally touched a live cable, which was apparently an 11,000-volt cable. So severe was the accident that let alone my left hand — it had to be amputated right away — nobody was sure whether I would be able to recover from it. When I looked around, I saw a lot of people who didn’t have arms or legs and I realised that I am lucky enough to have my right hand. I was interested in sports and that was enough motivation for me."
Ever since then, Devendra’s went from strength to strength in his journey to achieve this dream.
R D Sing, Dronacharya Awardee coach, helped Devendra in his early career in sports and guided him through his journey to his first Gold.
His first medal at Far East and South Pacific Games for the disabled at Korea in 2002 made him more confident about his ability and inspired him to achieve greater heights.
At the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games, Devendra had first participated at the age of 24. He had created a world record with a throw of 62.15m in men’s F46 Javelin Throw to become India's first gold medalist. In the subsequent Paralympics at Beijing in 2008 and at London in 2012, F46 Javelin Throw wasn’t included and so he didn’t get a chance to beat his own record. He had to wait for 12 years to get another Gold.
Awarded with Arujuna award in 2004 and Padma Shri in 2012, Devendra is currently ranked third in the world.
He was fighting for the second gold medal at his second appearance at Paralympics and he comfortably led the field, creating history and making Indians proud by winning his second Gold.
Title image: Deccanchronicle