World record holder para javelin thrower Sumit Antil on Sunday said that he wants to prepare for next year’s Paris Paralympic Games at his home city Sonipat and not abroad.
While most of the athletes insisted on training in European countries to acclimatise with conditions in Paris, reigning Paralympic champion Antil does not feel the need for it.
“I don’t think practice is necessary in Europe. I want to prepare for the Paris Paralympics in my city Sonipat. For me, it has been a tried and tested strategy,” Antil told PTI Bhasha in an interview.
“Paris has been lucky for me anyway, where I have been playing since 2018 and have been giving my best performance. Till now I have played there 3-4 times and I have not faced any problem of conditioning.
“There is trouble in extreme cold or extreme hot weather, but the Paralympics will be held in August and I have played in Paris at that time. The world record of 70.83m was made in the World Championship 2023 in Paris itself,” said the 25-year-old.
Antil, who won gold medal in Tokyo Paralympics in F64 category, holds the current world record, having thrown 73.29m at the recent Hangzhou Asian Para Games. He has broken the world record many times in his career.
“My preparations are going very well. Some technical shortcomings came to light in Hangzhou which I am working on. I am also making every possible effort to remain injury free,” he said.
“The Para Asian Games gold and the world record are a thing of the past and now my eyes are on the next target.
“Currently, I am preparing for the World Championship in Kobe, Japan in May. Apart from this, my aim is to cross the 80m barrier sometime in my life,” said Antil who shifted to javelin after his dream of becoming a wrestler was shattered in an accident due to which he lost his left leg.
Terming comparisons with Olympic and world champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra as meaningless, he said, “There can be no comparison between an able bodied athlete and a para-athlete.
“The struggle of both is different, the benchmark is different. I would not like to compare myself with any para athlete too because there are many aspects. Everyone has their own journey. It is important to focus on your game instead of any comparison.” He also said that the increasing awareness about para sports in India is encouraging the athletes a lot.
“The scenario of para sports in India has changed a lot from the time I started playing. There is a lot of awareness now and it is very heartening to see the way people are showing faith and encouraging para players.
“Khelo India Para Games (in Delhi from December 10) will give new inspiration to the youth,” he said.
Expressing hope of a record-breaking performance in the Paris Paralympics, he said, “Very good players are coming up at the junior level and it is expected that the performance in the Paris Paralympics will be better than in Tokyo.
“We (able-bodied and para javelin throwers of India) are one of the best in the world. We will try to do a clean sweep.”
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