Paralympics: Javelin thrower Jhajharia breaks own record to win gold

Rio de Janeiro, Sep 14 (IANS) India’s Devendra Jhajharia rode into legend status as he bettered his own world record to win the gold medal in the men’s javelin throw F46 event at the ongoing 2016 Rio Paralympics.

Devendra also won the gold medal in the javelin event at the 2004 Athens Paralympics with a record throw of 62.15 metres, becoming only the second gold medallist at the Paralympics for his country, and on Tuesday improved upon the mark with a throw of 63.97 metres at the Olympic Stadium (Engenhao) here.

Jhajharia set the new benchmark in his third attempt. The 36-year-old is currently ranked third in the world in this category and is likely to become World No.1 after his latest world-record setting gold medal feat.

World No.1 China’s Chunliang Guo claimed silver with a throw of 59.93 metres followed by Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Herath Priyantha, with a personal best mark of 58.23. All attempted the throw six times.

Jhajharia started with an effort of 57.25 metres and improved it in the second attempt with a throw of 60.70m before hurling the javelin that went to the historic mark of 63.97m — the throw that eventually sealed his gold medal.

He competed in the event alongside fellow Indians Rinku Hooda and Sundar Singh Gurjar.

Rinku finished fifth with a personal best of 54.39m, in six attempts while Sundar Singh Gurjar didn’t start the event.

Jhajharia, who is from Churu district in Rajasthan, took India’s tally at this edition of the Paralympics to four medals — two golds, one silver and a bronze.

The Rajasthan born, with an amputated left hand, was chosen as a recipient of the 2004 Arjuna Award and the Padma Shri in 2012, becoming the first Paralympian to be receiving the honour.

Jhajharia was electrocuted while climbing a tree at the tender age of eight and his left hand had to be amputed. But that didn’t deter him from pursuing his dreams.

The track and field star won gold at the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Athletics World Championships in Lyon in 2013. He last participated in the Paralympics 12 years back. The F46 event did not feature in the 2008 and the 2012 editions.

Earlier on Tuesday, Ankur Dhama failed to qualify in the men’s 1,500m — T11 Round 1 event, securing the 11th spot among 17 athletes, five among them getting disqualified.

He took a time of 4:37.61 to finish his race but it wasn’t enough as the first six qualified for the next round.

Swimmer Suyash Jadhav couldn’t qualify for the final round of the men’s 200-metre Individual Medley competition.

Jadhav trailed from the start and finished his heat sixth among as many swimmers with a time of 3 minute 1.05 seconds.

The 22-year-old Maharashtrian was 10th in the overall standings among 12 swimmers.

The best eight athletes progressed to the final round. Shot-putter Deepa Malik on Monday confirmed India’s third medal at the Paralympic Games.

Deepa Malik bagged a silver medal in the women’s shotput F53 event, with a personal best throw of 4.61 metres.

Mariyappan Thangavelu had won gold in the Men’s High Jump T42 category on Friday with fellow Indian Varun Bhati taking bronze at the same event.

Deepa also became the first Indian female medallist in the history of the Paralympic Games. India, which made Paralympic Games debut in 1968, has bagged an overall total of 12 medals, including four golds, four silvers and an equal number of bronze medals.

Britain also set two world records at the Rio Paralympics on Tuesday. Georgie Hermitage added 400m gold to her 100m title as she stormed to T37 victory in a new world mark of 1.00.43.

Elsewhere team-mate Hollie Arnold won F46 women’s javelin gold with a 43.01m world record throw.

–IANS

sam/pur/vt

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