Double Paralympic Games gold medallist Devendra Jhajaria’s hopes of extending his legacy by winning the third gold did not materialise as the Indian had to be satisfied with a silver medal in the men’s Javelin Throw F46 category at Tokyo 2020 on Monday.
Jhajharia, who won gold medals in 2004 Athens and 2016 Rio with world record throws, threw 64.35, much farther than his world record of 63.97 but Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Priyan Mudiyanselage Herath produced a gigantic throw of 67.79 to set a new world record and win the gold medal.
Sundar Singh Gurjar, a two-time World Championship gold medallist, took bronze with a best throw of 64.01 metres on Monday.
Jhajharia had reached Tokyo with hopes of winning a third gold medal in javelin throw F46, the first Indian to do so. He was in good form coming into Tokyo Paralympics as he had crossed his world record mark during the national trials at New Delhi in June this year.
He was quite confident of repeating his performance and winning his third gold with a world record. Indeed he did manage to produce his personal best but Herath turned out to be a surprise package.
Jhajharia had started with 60.28 in his first throw and hurled the spear to 64.35 off his third throw. He tried to improve it further but fouled his next two throws and could manage only 61.23 on his sixth and final attempt.
It was quiet redemption for Gurjar as he had tragically missed a chance to compete at the Rio Paralympics in 2016 because he turned up late for his event.
On Monday, Gurjar started with 62.26 metres in his first throw and produced his best distance of the day with 64.01 in his fifth chance.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded Jhajaria’s silver medal-winning feat, tweeting, “Superb performance by @DevJhajharia! One of our most experienced athletes wins a Silver medal. Devendra has been making India continuously proud. Congratulations to him. Best of luck for his future endeavours. #Paralympics.”
For Gurjar, PM Modi tweeted, “India is overjoyed by the Bronze medal won by @SundarSGurjar. He has shown remarkable courage and dedication. Congratulations to him. Wishing him the very best. #Paralympics.”