NEW DELHI: India para javelin thrower Sumit Antil has credited Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra for his achievements in the ongoing Tokyo Paralympics.
Speaking on the sidelines of Sports Minister Anurag Thakur felicitating the athletes on Friday, Sumit very comprehensively won gold in the men's javelin throw (Sport Class F64). Sumit dominated the show from the word go as he bettered the World Record three times in the final. He threw a monstrous throw of 68.55m in his fifth attempt to climb on the top of the podium.
"Neeraj Chopra's medal pressurized me to grab a medal in Olympic but he always motivated me by saying you are too strong and fit. Neeraj has played the biggest role in my achievement," Sumit told ANI.
"I don't react to negative comments and none of my near ones taunt me on my disability. Javelin has now taken a boost in the country and after my medal now 50 students have approached my coach for training. I feel like a star now," he added.
Javelin throw has hogged the limelight in India after Neeraj's gold in the Olympics. And it has improved further after the show from the para-athletes in the ongoing Paralympics.
Talking about the same, Devendra Jhajharia, who won a silver medal in Tokyo, said: "India has become a hub of javelin throw, now foreigner athletes will think of coming to India for training."
Discus thrower Yogesh Kathuniya on Monday clinched silver after registering his season-best attempt of 44.38.
Yogesh said he was demotivated because of his disability as his schoolmates used to bully him but now the same people are trying to talk to him. "My journey has been a bit difficult. My seniors in college suggested that I should try in Paralympics as I was demotivated due to my disability," he said.
"People used to make fun of my disability and students bullied me in school but now those people want to talk to me. They are messaging me continuously. My parents are also excited because none from my family have reached the level where I reached," he added.
Sharad Kumar won bronze in the men's high jump final on Tuesday revealed he had injured his leg before the match. "I am doing high jump since the age of 12. I started high jump after watching my brother because he was so popular in school and he had lots of medals," said Sharad.
"My leg was paining badly before my medal match as I had injured my leg badly. I spoke to my parents and my family and I cried a lot. Then I started reading Bhagwat Geeta to regain focus," he pointed.