Sundar Singh Gurjar needed a redemption of sort after the Rio Paralympics fiasco last year where he failed to turn up for the javelin throw starting line-up on time and the country missed out on a possible medal.

The 21-year-old knew that The World Para Athletics Championship in London provided him with the best opportunity to bury the ghosts of Rio and he ensured that there were no hiccups this time around as he helped India bag its first gold of the event with a personal best throw of hurled the spear to 60.36 m in the F46 category.

Gurjar was undoubtedly the pre-event favourite in the absence of Paralympic champion and world record holder Devendra Jhanjaria and he did not disappoint.

“I was very disappointed after Rio, as I had prepared intensely and ultimately, could not compete.

My morale was completely broken then, but I am delighted with this comeback to competition. I had trained hard for the World Championships as well, but not as much as I had done for Rio. Hence, this gold medal is great motivation for me to perform even better from here on,” said Gurjar, who used to compete in regular events till 2015. He shifted to para events after losing his left hand due to an accident.

But despite the gold medal winning effort, the Rajasthan para-athlete wasnt very happy that he could not have a shot at the world record and said he has already set his sights on next year’s Asian Games.

“I have recovered fully, and will do even better at the Asian Games [next year]. I am a little bit disappointed at not being able to break the world record, but am still satisfied that I got the medal,” Gurjar said.

Jhajharia currently holds the world record in the F46 category with a throw of 63.97m at Rio.

‘Will make India proud, says Mahavir Saini

Gurjar’s coach Mahavir Saini said that after his trainee’s setback last year, he had to work hard to get Gurjar back on track, especially the mental side of the game. “In every step of the way, I had to work with him closely, especially the mental side of things. This belief helped me to encourage him to participate in three events. I’m certain that he will win medals in shot put on the 18th and discus throw on 23rd, and will make India proud.”