Press Esc to close
Wednesday 03 September 2014
News updated at 1:59 AM IST
Weather
Max: 27°C
Min : 20°C
In Bangalore
Generally cloudy

Turning disability into his strength

Josey Samuel

Devendra Jhajhria is the first Indian to win a gold medal in the Paralympics. He threw the javelin to a record-breaking distance of 62.15 metres at the Athens Games, a record by the Rajasthani that has withstood the test of time.

one-hand wonder Devendra Jhajhria’s is a tale of grit and glory. DH photo by Srikanta Sharma RThe 28-year-old, who’s left arm was amputated from below the elbow, received the Arjuna Award in 2005 for his heroics in Athens. The defending Asian Paralympics champion and International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) Games silver-medallist spoke about his personal tragedy and gold-winning moment in Paralympics.

Excerpts:

Tell us about your childhood.

I couldn’t enjoy my childhood as at the age of eight I lost my left hand. Luckily it was not my right hand so I could do all the things I wanted freely without any one’s support. But I felt sad after being amputated because other children use to wander freely. And at times they used to make fun of me also. It was a struggle.


How did the tragedy happen?

Climbing the trees was my hobby, so on that fateful day I didn’t see an electric wire lying over the branches and I touched it without realising that it was a live wire. My parents tried their best to save my hand but they couldn’t do anything as amputation was the only way to save my life.

From where did you receive motivation to become a sportsperson?

When I looked around I saw many people who didn’t have either legs or hands. I then realised that I am lucky enough to have my right hand. I was interested in sports and naturally that was enough motivation for me to take up sports. Then lot of hard work and practice paid off.  

You have been competing with normal athletes also, did you win any medal competing with them?

I won a bronze medal for Bikaner University in the All-India Inter-University athletics meet in 2004. I was also selected to attend a camp for Beijing Olympics but failed to get a place in the team.

Give us details about your gold-winning moments in Athens Paralympics?

Actually, I didn’t expect gold there. The fact that I broke the world record gave me more satisfaction. So obviously I was taken by surprise. I will never forget that moment. It took an hour for me to get back to normal. Tears flowed when I received the medal. It was an overwhelming experience which you get only once in your life. I don’t think I will experience that feeling again even if you win a medal for the second time. I was happy that I did something for my country.

That gold also gave me Arjuna Award. One thing I want to mention is the effort of my coach Dronacharya Awardee R D Singh. Without him I couldn’t have achieved anything in my life.

Most difficult decision in your life?

Pulling out of Beijing Paralympics. My right shoulder was injured during the training. I thought I would recover before the Games but that didn’t happen. So I withdrew from the squad. I was totally upset that I couldn’t defend my title there.

Do you feel that you got everything in your life just like any other normal person?

Yes, surely. My disability is my key to success. If I was a normal person then I wouldn’t have put on that much effort. I have a job with the Indian Railways in Bilaspur and I am married.

What are your plans for future?

I would like to compete with normal athletes. Participating in the Olympics with able bodied athletes is my dream.

What do you have to say about the IWAS Games here?

It’s good as far as Indian athletes are concerned. But for foreigners it would have been nice if they were provided with more facilities. I won my title in Bangalore, so overall it’s been good for me.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
England's Steven Finn survives a run out attempt

England's Steven Finn survives a run out attempt

President Pranab Mukherjee at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine on Tuesday. J & K Governor NN Vohra is...

President Pranab Mukherjee at Mata Vaishno Devi shrine on Tuesday. J & K Governor NN Vohra is...

India's Ravindra Jadeja celebrates after bowling England's Eoin Morgan

India's Ravindra Jadeja celebrates after bowling England's Eoin Morgan

Shuttler PV Sindhu, bronze medalist at World Badminton Championship, speaking to the media with ...

Shuttler PV Sindhu, bronze medalist at World Badminton Championship, speaking to the media with ...

England's Chris Woakes, right, is run out for 10 runs...

England's Chris Woakes, right, is run out for 10 runs...

Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh, right, watches Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt bowl during a...

Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh, right, watches Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt bowl during a...

Dhoni And Jos Buttler at the fourth one-day international cricket match...

Dhoni And Jos Buttler at the fourth one-day international cricket match...

A devotee carries a statue of the Hindu god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, to be immersed into...

A devotee carries a statue of the Hindu god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, to be immersed into...

Ajinkya Rahane celebrates after scoring a century against England during the fourth One Day...

Ajinkya Rahane celebrates after scoring a century against England during the fourth One Day...

Cricketer Yuvraj Singh presents a bat signed by him to Olympic Gold Medalist sprinter Usain...

Cricketer Yuvraj Singh presents a bat signed by him to Olympic Gold Medalist sprinter Usain...

Copyright 2014, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bangalore - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523