News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay  » Sports » Paralympic icon Jhajharia gets BJP ticket for Lok Sabha polls

Paralympic icon Jhajharia gets BJP ticket for Lok Sabha polls

Source: PTI
March 02, 2024 22:59 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

IMAGE: India's greatest para-athlete Devendra Jhajharia will be contesting on a BJP ticket from his hometown of Churu in Rajasthan. Photograph: Devendra Jhajharia/Instagram

Devendra Jhajharia was only eight when he lost part of his left arm after coming in contact with an electric wire while climbing a tree in his hometown of Churu in Rajasthan.

And 34 years after that accident, life has come full circle for India's greatest para-athlete as the celebrated javelin thrower, who has won three Paralympic medals, including two gold, is now set to enter the political arena.


The 42-year-old will be contesting on a BJP ticket in the upcoming general elections from his birthplace, which is the gateway to the Thar desert and hits the headlines annually for its record temperatures both in summers and winters.

The childhood tragedy that led to the amputation of his left arm was just one of the many odds that Jhajharia battled to climb the ladder of success.

His indefatigable spirit fetched him multiple medals at the Paralympics, the last one being a silver in the 2021 Tokyo Games. He is also a two-time para world championships medallist besides being a silver-winner in the 2014 Asian Para Games.

A world record holder at the peak of his prowess, Jhajharia received the country's third highest civilian honour, the Padma Bhushan, for his heroics in 2022. It was after the Tokyo silver, which almost did not happen due to the cancer diagnosis of his father Ram Singh Jhajharia in 2020.

He lost his father to the dreaded disease and broke down on the podium of a national competition, struggling to cope with the loss.

The news of his political plunge comes as he gears up to become the president of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) in the upcoming polls for the sports body.

Jhajharia, who had won a gold medal each in the 2004 Athens and 2016 Rio Paralympics in the F46 disability category, was the only candidate who filed nomination papers for the PCI chief's post till the cut-off time.

F46 classification is for athletes with arm deficiency, impaired muscle power or impaired passive range of movement in arms. Jhajharia makes this cut owing to the hand he lost after being electrocuted.

Para-athletes are given a classification depending on the type and extent of their disability. The classification system ensures that athletes compete against only those who have a similar level of ability.

Jhajharia is the only Indian double Paralympics gold medallist and was recognised for his stupendous achievements with a Khel Ratna in 2017. He had won the Arjuna Award in 2004 and Padma Shri in 2012.

Jhajharia clinched the World championships gold in 2013 and silver in 2015 (both F46 category).

His trailblazing success notwithstanding, Jhajharia almost gave up the sport when his father was diagnosed with cancer. He left his training in Gandhinagar to be by his side but Ram Singh instructed his son to focus and return.

Jhajharia obeyed the order and missed out on being with him in his final moments. He had no qualms admitting that the tragedy shattered him as his father was his inspiration.

He went on to dedicate his Tokyo silver to the man without whose encouragement, he wouldn't have competed at the Games.

"There are always ups and downs," he said after the Tokyo Paralympics reflecting on the many crests and troughs he faced in his life and career.

When thoughts of quitting the sport crossed his mind after his event was dropped from the 2008 and 2012 Paralympics, it was his wife -- national level kabaddi player Manju -- who convinced him to keep going, years after his coach Ripu Daman Singh, or RD to his wards, helped him hone his skills in his chosen discipline.

Jhajharia is widely considered an inspiration for his perseverance and with his decision to enter the political arena, he would be aiming for another trailblazing run.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
Source: PTI© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.