Devendra Jhajharia: First para athlete to receive Khel Ratna Award
Rio Paralympics gold medalist and F46 men’s javelin throw world record holder, Devendra Jhajharia, was awarded the coveted Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. President Ram Nath Kovind gave away the award at an impressive ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on August 29th, the National Sports Day. Sardar Singh, the former India hockey team captain is the other recipient this year. Awarded by the Ministry of Youth and Sport Affairs, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is India’s highest sporting honour.
The much accomplished Jhajharia is the first para sportsperson to win the Khel Ratna. He is also a recipient of the prestigious Arjuna Award, which he won in 2004 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to sports, and the Padmashree, the nations’s fourth highest civilian honour, which he received in 2012. 36 year old Jhajharia set his first world record with a throw of 62.15 metres, at the 2004 Athens Paralympics, and became the second Indian ever to win a Paralympic gold. At the 2016 Rio Paralympics he set a new world record with a throw of 63.97 metres, netting yet another gold in the process.
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