Devendra Jhajharia, who has emerged as the new poster boy of Indian athletics after bettering his own World record to claim his second Paralympics gold, feels it is his “willpower” which kept him going despite all the hardships.
Javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia has revealed that a “deal” with his six-year-old daughter propelled him to win a record second gold medal in the Paralympics.
Jiya, who would accompany Jhajaria to training in Rajasthan, struck a deal with her father that if she topped in the lower kindergarten exam, he would have to win a gold in Paralympics.
“She proudly phoned me to announce that ‘I’ve topped, now it’s your turn’, something that kept on echoing in my ear when I entered the field at the Olympic Stadium,” Jhajaria, the only Indian to win two gold medals in Paralympics, told PTI from Rio after winning the men’s F46 javelin throw.
“She would be the happiest person. I will wait for her to wake up and speak to her,” he said after breaking his own world record that he set in Athens in 2004.
“Ab kya sona, ab hamein kuchh nahin hoga. Hum to Rashtriya Dhwaj ke saath celebration karenge (I won’t get sleep anymore. I will celebrate with National Tricolour)” he said thanking every Indian.
Devendra’s world record throw of 63.97 metres came in his third attempt as it bettered his own mark of 62.15m that he had produced for his maiden gold at the Athens Paralympics in 2004.
It was a long wait for the the 35-year-old, who did not feature in the previous two Paralympics with the event missing from the Games program.
To keep himself in shape and injury free during this period, the paralympian followed an intensive training as he rarely visited home, a small village in Churu district of Rajasthan. So much so that his two-year-old son Kavyan does not even recognise his father.
He does not even know what a father is like. Only his mom tells him by showing my photo, that it’s papa. Hopefully I would be able to spend some time with them now.
Before Paralympics, he trained from April-July in Kuortane, Finland, where he became friends with Kenyan thrower Julius Yego, whom he calls one of his biggest motivators. Devendra will leave for India on 19 September.
Though prayers and wishes works wonder, Jhajharia has proved that hard-work eventually pays off.