Sumit wins gold with smashing world record show
Tokyo: Debutant Sumit Antil smashed his own world record multiple times for the F64 class gold, while veteran Devendra Jhajharia’s F46 category silver cemented his status of being India”s greatest para-athlete as javelin throwers led the country’s track-and-field medal rush at the Paralympics here on Monday.
Another javelin thrower Sundar Singh Gurjar picked up bronze in Jhajharia’s event, while discus thrower Yogesh Kathuniya’s F56 silver ensured that India made its presence felt across the podium and through the day.
The man of the moment was, however, the 23-year-old Antil as he bludgeoned his way to the top of the podium with an astonishing fifth attempt of 68.55m mark, which was the best of the day by quite a distance and a new world record.
“In training, I have thrown 71m, 72m, many times. I don’t know what happened in my competition. One thing is for sure: in future I will throw much better,” Antil said after the stupendous performance.
Hailing from Sonepat in Haryana, Antil, who lost his left leg below the knee after he was involved in a motorbike accident in 2015, bettered the previous world record of 62.88m, also set by him, five times on the day. His last throw was a foul. His series read 66.95, 68.08, 65.27, 66.71, 68.55 and foul.
Australian Michal Burian (66.29m) and Sri Lanka’s Dulan Kodithuwakku (65.61m) took the silver and bronze respectively.
The F64 category is for athletes with a leg amputation, who compete with prosthetics in a standing position.
A student of Delhi’s Ramjas College, Antil was an able-bodied wrestler before his accident which led to the amputation of his leg below the knee. A para athlete in his village initiated him to the sport in 2018.
It was tough for him initially battled pain and loss of blood because of his prosthetic leg. But, Antil never quit and continued his dream of reaching to the top.
Son of a JWO officer in the Indian Army, Antil also competed against Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra in the able-bodied Indian Grand Prix series 3 on March 5 in Patiala where he finished seventh with a best throw of 66.43m.
He won a silver in the F64 javelin throw at the 2019 World Championships in Dubai.
Earlier Jhajharia clinched a stupendous third Paralympic medal, a silver this time, while Kathuniya finished second in his event.
Sundar Singh Gurjar also chipped in with a bronze, finishing behind Jhajharia.