Paralympic gold medalist and multiple-time record-breaker in javelin throw F64 category, Sumit Antil has set himself a new target for the year 2023 — he aims to cross the 70-metre mark and set a new benchmark for all para-athletes.
Antil, who won a gold medal in the F64 category in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games last year, breaking the world record three times in the final, holds the latest record of 68.62 metres, which he set in the Indian Open National Para Athletics Championships in Bengaluru in August this year.
Having inched closer to the 70 metres, Antil said he is working hard towards crossing the mark. Achieving the feat would make him the first athlete across all para-javelin throw disciplines to cross the 70m mark.
“No one has managed to cross 70m so far so that is my next target. I am working hard towards and with support from my team, Sports Authority of India (SAI), the Sports Ministry and GoSports Foundation, I am confident that I would manage to cross 70m distance very soon,” said Antil on the sidelines of the GoSports Athletes Conclave.
Antil has set his eyes on the para-athletics World Cup Championships next year besides the Asian Para Games and wants to win gold in both of the events. Of course, the Paris Paralympic Games in 2024 remains the ultimate target as he wants to retain the gold he won in Tokyo in 2021.
The 24-year-old believes if he manages to breach the 70m mark, he will set a new benchmark for javelin throw for all para-athletes and thus achieving his targets will not be much difficult.
Asked whether he did anything different to succeed in 2022, Antil, who switched from his first-love wrestling to athletes after his left leg was amputated following an accident at the age of 17, followed his usual routine that he had set before the Tokyo Paralympics.
“I did some special training for the Tokyo Paralympic Games. I participated in the Asian Championships a few months before and it was quite cold at that time and also it rained on the day of the competition. Though I was lucky and won a gold medal in that event, I did not achieve a good distance.
On returning home, I consulted my coaches and support staff and we decided on a special training regimen for the Paralympics as rains were expected around that time in Tokyo. So, I trained on a wet track with a wet javelin to get myself ready,” said Antil.
The javelin thrower said his ultimate aim was to cross the 80m mark. Antil said he was misquoted about his dream to compete against the able-bodied in the Olympics and said he will take a call on it only after crossing the 80m
“The immediate aim is to achieve 70m. I never said that I want to compete against the able-bodied in the Olympics. I have taken up javelin throw five-six years ago and have a lot of things to achieve in my discipline. The first aim is to cross 70m,” said Antil.
The 80-metre distance and the Olympic Games are definitely things he dreams of achieving. And with the support of SAI, Sports Ministry and GoSports, Antil hopes he would one day fulfil all his dreams. Having achieved so much in para-athletics despite his accident, Sumit Antil knows nothing is impossible if one works hard for it. That’s what he is doing nowadays.