Devendra Jhajharia- The Golden Man of India

 

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Throwing Javelin day after day, year after year despite knowing that the sport was not included in the previous two Paralympics.. Still trying to achieve accuracy and honing the skills. Sounds difficult right? Not everyone can do it. Well, then not everyone can be Devendra Jhajharia either. Such was the determination and will power of this 35 year old that he practiced and practiced hard for 12 consecutive years..And such was his dedication and focus that he hardly visited his home. So much so, his two year toddler (Son) does not recognize him.. All his hard work and painful days away from home finally paid off this year when he won his second Gold Medal at the Rio Paralympics. He won his first Gold Medal at the 2005 Athens Paralympics. Devendra bettered his own mark of 62.15m with a record throw of 63.97m in his third attempt in the men’s F46 javelin throw. This was also India’s second gold medal in this Paralympics.

One day that changed his life

As an eight year old, he made a mistake and touched a live electric cable. In order to save his life, Doctors were forced to amputate his left hand. In Devendra’s own words, his world came crashing down after that incident. His friends laughed at him and termed him weak. During this tough period, his mother was his strength and encouraged him to be focused in life and ignore what other said about him. Devendra was to create history and one day he was spotted by Dronacharya Awardee coach R.D. Singh in 1997 when he was competing at a school day. From that point, Jhajharia got a new lease of life and from there on began his second innings.

New Beginning for Devendra

The Gold run began for Devendra when in 2002 he won Gold Medal in 8th FESPIC Games in South Korea. In 2004 Athens Paralympics he eclipsed his previous best record of 59.77m to throw 62.15,m to win Gold Medal and became only the second gold medalist Paralympics for India.( Murlikant Petkar was the first to win Gold Medal ) . Further athletic success came in 2013 at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France when he took the gold medal in the F46 javelin throw. He followed this with a silver medal at the 2014 Asian Para Games at Incheon in South Korea.

Awards and Recognitions

His numerous good results were not unnoticed and he was conferred with prestigious Arjuna Award in 2005. The same year, Rajasthan government also felicitated him with Maharana Pratap Puraskar Award.

Apart from that, he also received the fourth-highest civilian honour Padma Shri in 2012 and became the first Paralympian to have received the award. In 2014, FICCI named him the Para-sportsperson of the year.

So as we were mourning our poor performance in the Rio Olympics, I hope we celebrate our Paralympics win with much fanfare and enthusiasm. The cash have also started to come in Jhajharia’s lap as the state government has announced a cash award of Rs 75 lakh, a residential plot and agricultural land for him. The prize money and accolades surely boasts our Paralympics athletes confidence by many folds but what we need even more is the change in our own attitude towards them and many other like them in day to day life.

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India’s “Disabled” athletes makes nation proud

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It was a proud moment for India at the Rio Paralympics after a dismal show of our athletes at the recently concluded Rio Olympics. Indian Paralympics athlete Mariyappa Thangavelu created history by winning the GOLD at the Rio Paralympics 2016 in Men’s high Jump T-42 events. Not only this, Varun Singh Bhati fetched the Bronze medal in the same event. The 20-year-old Thangavelu who became the first Indian high jumper to win a gold medal at the Paralympics made a leap of 1.89m. Bhati meanwhile, jumped his personal best of 1.86m to finish third. USA’s Sam Grewe bagged the silver medal.

What is T-42 event?

The T42 category includes athletes who have had above-the-knee amputations in a single leg or a disability that is comparable.

 

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                                                                   The Pride of nation

Who is Mariyappan Thangavelu?

Every champion has stories of struggles, obstacles and Impairments that makes him different from others.  Mariyappan Thangavelu’s life was no exception. Born in Periavadamgatti village, 50 km away from Salem to Vegetable seller mother, Mariyappan has faced problems since his birth.  When he was 5, his right knee was crushed by a on his way to school that left him with a permanent disability. But as they say, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Maryippan was tough and thus did not make his disability come in between his determination and perseverance. His mother had to take Rs 3lakh for his treatment which she is still repaying. Thangavelu started playing volleyball in school but was advised by his physical education teacher to try high jump and he made a mark. Coach by a selfless man Satyanarayana first spotted him at the National Para-Athletics Championship when he was just 18. After rigorous training in Bengaluru, all the hard work paid off and he became the World Number 1 in 2015.

Who is Varun Singh Bhati?

Varun too has never been a stranger to struggles and problems. At a very tender age, he was afflicted by Polio. The nature of his handicap is called Poliomyelitis which is a Deformity in one leg.  But the love for sport did not deter him and began training at Greater Noida and never looked back. Wins have not been new to him. Varun won the gold at the 2014 China Open Athletics Championship, and finished fifth at the 2014 Para Asian Games in Incheon (South Korea) and 2015 Para World Championships in Doha (Qatar). He had also achieved the ‘A’ qualification mark for the 2012 London Paralympics but failed to make a cut there.

India’s Previous Medal history at the Paralympics

India so far has won three Gold Medals in the history of Paralympics. First Gold Medal fetched by India was in 1972 when Murlikant Petkar won the Gold Medal in the 50m freestyle3 event at Heidelberg. The second gold medal came when Devendra Jhajharia finished first at the javelin throw F44/46 12 years ago at the 2004 Athens.

India has also won three Silver and three Bronze Medals as well.

Silver Medalists –

  1. Name-. Bhimrao Kesarkar

Sport- Javelin throw, L6,

Year-  1984 Stoke Mandeville/New York

2- Name- Joginder Singh Bedi

Sport- Shot put L6

Year- 1984 Stoke Mandeville/New York
3-Name- Girisha Nagarajegowda

Sport- High jump F42

Year- 2012 London
BRONZE MEDALISTS
1- Name- Joginder Singh Bedi

Sport- Discus throw L6

Year- 1984 Stoke Mandeville/New York

2- Name- Joginder Singh Bedi

Sport-Jjavelin throw L6

Year- 1984 Stoke Mandeville/New York

3- Name- Rajinder Singh Rahelu

Sport- Powerlifting 56 kg

Year- 2004 Athens

 

HISTORY OF INDIA AT PARALYMPICS

India first participated at the Paralympics in 1968 Games. The nation again participated in 1972 then however, India missed the games until the 1984 games. Since then, India has participated in every Paralympics.

We were all so happy and elated with the performances of Sakshi Mallik and PV Sindhu who fetched two medals (One Silver and a Bronze) for at the Rio Olympics.. So much accolades and money was showered on them for their historic performances…It will now interesting to know what and how much accolades and money will be showered on our  “DISAABLED” athletes Mariyappa Thangavelu and Varun Singh Bhati as compared to our “NORMAL” athletes. Or they will once again be played as a second fiddle to them?  The Sports Ministry had earlier announced that Indian Gold Medalists from the Paralympics will be awarded Rs 75 lakh, the silver medalists will get Rs 50 lakh while Rs 30 lakh will be given to the bronze medalists. So, is it enough when we compare such rewards given to our Paralympics athlete to the Crores given by different governments to our normal athletes?