Life didn’t stop at 8 for Devendra Jhajharia after loosing part of his left arm in an electric shock while climbing a tree in Rajasthan’s Churu district. He found some solace in the fact that he can also participate in athletics along with able bodied friends.
R D Singh, his coach faced mammoth difficulties while training his pupil so much so that at an open inter-university meet at Gwalior’s Laxmibai National University of Physical Education his fellow coaches sracastically riduculed and made fun of him by saying “Kyun R D Sir? Poore Rajasthan mein aapko do haathon wala athlete nahi mila? Kahan se langda-lula utha ke le aaye? (Could you not find an able-bodied athlete in all of Rajasthan that you picked a disabled boy?”
This remained embedded between the two and nobody spoke anything about the issue until four years later, Jhajharia brought home a Paralympics gold medal from Athens.
Recipient of the Arjuna award and a Padma Shree Awardee, recalls as to how the vile remarks helped him to strenghten his remarks many years ago.
Devendra’s coach who is now 62 recalled the incident and said that “It’s not that he wasn’t hurt because he might have heard such lines before — that’s what happens in India. But he was focused on winning,”
“If the F46 category had been there in 2008 and 2012, this could have been Devendra’s fourth gold,” the coach added.