In 2004, a 23-year-old man from Rajasthan, who had his left arm amputated, became India's second gold medallist in Paralympic history and set a world record in the men's javelin throw at the Athens Games.
Devendra Jhajharia could not defend his gold at the next two Paralympics in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012 because his event was not included in those two editions. But on his return to the biggest stage at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio on Wednesday, Jhajharia set the stage on fire, all over again, with an incredible throw of 63.97 metres to win his second Paralympics gold and set another world record.
That, in a nutshell, is this para-athlete's incredible journey, one of perseverance and of toil. In an interview with Mint in April, Jhajharia had recounted how he had been declared dead after the accident where he lost his left arm.
I had climbed up the tree to break a branch and I happened to touch the line, which had 11,000 volts. I was alone at the time and stuck on the tree. It was close to the village. There was a lot of smoke, so villagers rushed to it. When they got me down from the tree, they had declared me dead. My left arm was all burnt. But slowly, I regained consciousness. When they took me to the doctor, he said I will never be strong in my life. But God had a different plan.
But Jhajharia was hell-bent on proving to the world that he was a champion. He kept on practicing desperately and won his first overseas gold in the Para-Asian Games in 2002 and from then on, he never looked back.
The 35-year-old's incredible feat and his celebrations afterwards demonstrated how proud he was of his achievement. To put it in perspective, Jhajharia has now set two world records and won two gold medals at the Paralympics, along with a host of medals from other competitions. Truly a champion like no other.