India's Para-athlete Devendra Jhajharia, who is first Indian to win a gold medal at Para World Athletics championship, said that legendary Milkha Singh's words inspired him to reach the highest level of athletics world.
“Milkha Singh is my idol. He once told me that I should be able shut myself out from the rest of the world when I am competing inside the stadium. I should only concentrate on my target," javelin thrower Jhajharia said.
"I am indebted to him as he found me deserving enough to get the prestigious Arjuna Award when he was the chairman of the Awards Committee," he added.
The 32-year-old Indian Railways employee chose to train alone in France to avoid any distraction.
After his victory at the IPC (International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships at Rhone Stadium near Lyon he said, “My only aim was to break the championship record of 55.50m. I was leading after first five attempts but record was not eclipsed till the last throw."
The one-armed athlete from Rajasthan began with a throw of 54.71 metres to take the lead after the first round. He then crossed the 50 metre mark with every subsequent throw as he recorded50.78, 52.04, 53.04 and 52.85 in his next four attempts.
In the process he also went on create a new Championship record with a massive 57.04m in his last attempt.
Jhajharia wants that noted Para-athletes like him and Girisha, who won silver at the Paralympics in London last year should get a job with the Sports Authority of India where they can train the future generations.
Image: Devendra Jhajharia
Photograph: Getty Images