India won its second gold at the ongoing Paralympics at Rio. Javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia bagged a gold in the men’s F46 event, breaking his own world record. He also made history by becoming the first Indian to clinch two gold medals at the Paralympics.
36-year-old Devendra had also won a gold in the 2004 Athens Games. Devendra created a record of 63.97 metres, thereby surpassing his own previous best of 62.15 metres achieved in Athens.
The Rajasthan born athlete had lost his left hand when he was electrocuted while climbing a tree as an eight-year-old. But he continued to follow his dream and went on to achieve the Arjuna award in 2004 and the Padma Shri in 2012, becoming the first Paralympian to receive the honour.
Devendra, who won the gold at the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Athletics World Championships in Lyon in 2013, last participated in the Paralympics 12 years ago as the F46 event did not feature in the 2008 and the 2012 editions.
Currently ranked third in the world, Devendra took India’s medal tally at Rio to four medals — two golds, one silver and a bronze.
Thangavelu Mariyappan had earlier struck gold in the men’s high jump, while Varun Bhati secured a bronze in the same event.
Deepa Malik won a silver in the women’s shot put event to add to the tally.
Accolades and wishes poured in for Devendra after the event.
“Congratulations to Devendra Jhajharia for the historic and well-deserved Gold at the #Paralympics. We are very proud of him. #Rio2016,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.
Cricketers, and tennis stars also congratulated Devendra.
“Many many congratulations to Devendra Jhajharia. You inspire us all,” said India’s Olympic gold medalist and shooter, Abhinav Bindra in praise of Devendra.
Tennis star Rohan Bopanna tweeted: “Congrats Devendra Jhajharia for breaking your own world record &making the country proud.”
(With inputs from PTI)