Devendra Jhajharia, Paralympic javelin thrower from India, has caught eyeballs after winning his second gold medal at the Rio Paralympics in F46 event. Jhajharia, who already has a long list of achievements to his name, was born into a low-income family of Churu district in Rajasthan. At the age of eight, he lost his left hand after accidentally touching an electric wire while trying to climb a tree.
However, Jhajharia’s life took a turn after he began participating in para-athletics in 1995 while in school. In 1997, Coach Ripudaman Singh identified his potential when he saw him competing in a school tournament and encouraged him to take up the sport seriously.
Jhajharia made his international debut in 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea and bagged his first gold medal at summer paralympic games in Athens in 2004. Ever since, he has never looked back.
India’s flag-bearer at the 2016 paralympics, Jhajharia was awarded with prestigious Arjuna award in 2005. The same year, Rajasthan government also felicitated him with Maharana Pratap Puraskar Award.
Apart from that, he also received the fourth-highest civilian honour Padma Shri from President Pratibha Patil in 2012 – first paralympian to have received the award. In 2014, FICCI named him the para-sportsperson of the year.
Jhajharia currently lives in Jaipur with his wife and daughter and is employed with the railways. He is also a member of the paralympics committee of Rajasthan.