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Just as Devendra Jhajharia was moving towards a gold medal finish in the javelin event at the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, there was another athlete who was on the starting list and allegedly in the arena but didn’t start or register a score.
For the past 24 hours, the focus of the Indian sporting world has been towards Jhajharia for his gold medal winning exploits – and rightly so. His throw of 63.97 meters registered as a world record and earned him a second gold medal at the Paralympics. It also ensured India were now destined for a best ever showing at the Paralympics – few weeks after the Olympics produced just two medals in the fag end of the event.
In the same event, Sundar Singh Gurjar finished without registering a score and was expected to give Devendra strong competition as he was registering 70 metres in his practice throws which is way over the final result.
Gurjar reportedly turned up late owing to which he was disqualified. “I really don’t know why he was late,“ Jhajharia told Times of India. “Both of us had travelled by the same bus to the venue. He moved to the other side of the field for warm-up.
“When our names were called, Rinku (Hooda) and I went in, but Sundar wasn’t there.”
For the record, Hooda registered a time of 54.39 meters which is his personal best but not enough to get him a medal as he finished fifth.
Sundar’s family allege he doesn’t understand English which is why he didn’t understand when his name was called up.
Vice-president of Paralympic Committee of India, Gursharan Singh said this is a “conspiracy” and the Paralympian is “depressed”.
“All athletes were warming up in the same area, including Sundar. Names of all athletes are announced multiple times for them to get to the competition area. We don’t know what happened with him, was he concentrating too much on his warm up that he missed out on the actual competition?,” Gurshan told NDTV.
“Sundar is very depressed. By the time he got there he was told he had been disqualified. This is a conspiracy and the government needs to investigate this matter,” Sundar Singh’s brother, Sher Singh Khatana told NDTV.
There is no word personally by Gurjar on why he didn’t take the field to register a score.