Jhajharia aims to break his world record at Tokyo Paralympics

A recurring shoulder injury troubled Devendra Jhajharia for more than a year and a half, even forcing him to consider retirement at one stage.

Devendra Jhajharia poses next to the scoreboard with his world record in the men's javelin throw 2016 Paralympic Games.   -  AP

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 set a new world record of 62.15 metres at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games and bagged the gold medal in the men’s javelin throw F46 event.

He then repeated the feat 12 years later at the 2016 Rio edition bettering his 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 said 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.

Parasports 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 for 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.”