New Delhi: Indian Railways has announced a cash reward of Rs Five lakh to para athlete Padmashree Devendra Jhajharia who recently won gold medal at the Para Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France. Devendra Jhajharia, the first differently-abled Indian to win a gold at the Para Athletics World Championships, will be rewarded Rs five lakh by the Railways for his feat in the recently-held sixth edition of the event in Lyon, France.
Union Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge himself announced the special reward for Jhajharia in the inaugural function of the 79th Railways Athletics Championships in Delhi. Devendra Jhajharia had won gold medal in javelin throw in F-46 category which is meant for one-armed athlete on July 21 in Lyon, France. “It’s a great honour for me as the announcement came from the Railway Minister himself. It’s great gesture from the Railways. It will instil confidence among the para-athletes to bring laurels for the country,” Jhajharia said. Jhajharia was among a host of past and present Indian athletes, who are employees of Railways, present at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. “I need around Rs 5 lakh in a year for my training. I can now use this reward money for training. I have won gold in the Para Olympics (2004), Asian Games (2002) and World Championships. My target is to win gold for the second time in 2016 Rio Para Olympics,” he said.
Jhajharia, an Office Superintendent working at Southeast Central Railway Zone headquarters in Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh), had won gold in javelin throw in F-46 category – meant for one-armed athletes on 21st July in the sixth Para-Athletics World Championships.
Devendra, who hails from Rajasthan’s Churu district, which is the gateway to Thar desert, also has the world record in the F-46 category to his name when he hurled the javelin to 62.15m in Athens Paralympics in 2004. Son of Ram Singh, a farmer, Devendra was passionate about sports from his school days and used to train in the searing Thar-desert heat. “Sport is where an entire life can be compressed into a few hours, where the emotions of a lifetime can be felt on an acre or two of ground, where a person can suffer and die and rise again on six miles of trails through a park,” said Devendra in a statement.