Javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia on Thursday dispelled all rumours of retirement and said he has his eyes set on a hat-trick of world records at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
The 38-year-old javelin thrower won gold at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games in the men’s javelin throw F46 event setting a new world record of 62.15 metres.
He then repeated the feat 12 years later at the 2016 Rio edition bettering his own world record with a throw of 63.97 metres. He became the first Indian to clinch two gold medals at the Paralympics.
“I have qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics and I hope I can break my own world record,” Jhajharia told PTI on the sidelines of an event.
A recurring shoulder injury troubled him for more than a year and a half, even forcing him to consider retirement. He returned empty-handed from the Asian Para Games in 2018.
However, after discussions with his coaches, family and friends Jhajharia decided to soldier on.
The Rajasthan-born para-athlete has since worked hard on his fitness.
“I am not thinking about retirement at all now. I am completely fit. I have worked hard and lost eight kgs. Now I just have to fight and win in Tokyo,” he said.
The 38-year-old Jhajharia believes Indian para-athletes will bring back the best-ever medal haul in the Paralympics this year.
“Everyone is doing well. Tokyo will our be our best performance till now,” Jhajharia said.
Para-sports witnessed a watershed year in 2019. The country’s para-athletes shattered records, delivered an unprecedented medal haul at world championships and secured the highest Paralympic quota places.
Talking about the growth of para-sports in the country, Jhajharia said he has seen a lot of change in Indian para-sports in terms of funding and infrastructure but there is no substitute of hard work.
“I consider myself lucky that I have seen all the circumstances. I have witnessed a time when we paid for everything ourselves and I won a Paralympic medal and I have also seen the time when I won the medal after coming into the TOPS scheme,” he said.
“When I didn’t have money, facilities, then also I worked hard and today also I work hard.