Devendra Jhajaria Recommended For The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
On August 3, 2017, Devendra Jhajaria became India’s first Paralympic athlete to be recommended for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the country’s highest sporting honor. Jhajaria is also the first Indian athlete to win two gold medals and world records at the Paralympics. He clinched his first gold in the javelin throw at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens setting a new world record in the process. He got his second one at the 2016 Summer Paralympics held in Rio de Janeiro and set a new world record again!
Born on June 10, 1981, Jhajaria grew up in the Churu district of Rajasthan. At the age of 8, while climbing a tree he touched a live electric cable and had to amputate his left arm. Nevertheless, Jhajaria was inspired by his mother who encouraged him to step outside the house, take up a sport and discard the tag of “weakness” that is generally labeled on differently abled people. His talent for javelin throw was spotted at the school level itself by coach R.D. Singh who professionally coached him in the sport. Later, he also trained at the Kuortane Olympic Training Centre in Finland. His sheer grit, determination and the will to succeed was evident when he went on to win the F46 javelin throw at the IPC Athletics World Championship at Lyon, France in 2013. This win was followed by a silver a medal at the 2014 Asian Para Games in Incheon in South Korea. In 2015, Jhajharia claimed yet another silver at the IPC Athletics World Championship in Doha. Post this, he went on to bag a gold medal at the IPC Athletics Asia-Oceania Championship held in Dubai in 2016.
An inspiration for many, Devendra Jhajharia acknowledges the support of his coach as well as his wife, Manju Jhajharia who was a nationally-ranked kabaddi player herself. An unstoppable force who has never compromised on his coaching and practice, Jhajharia is currently training for the 2020 Summer Paralympics, which will be held in Tokyo.
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