Tokyo: Debutant Sumit Antil smashed his own world record multiple times for the F64 class gold at the Paralympics here on Monday. Antil set a new world record on his way to a gold medal hurling the spear to 68.55 metres, improving on his old mark of 62.88 set in November 2019. His series read 66.95, 68.08, 65.27, 66.71, 68.55 and a foul.Also Read - Fascinated by Sachin Tendulkar's Calm Demeanour: Pramod Bhagat Reveals Master Blaster Has Big Influence on Him
The 23-year-old from Sonipat, who lost his left leg below the knee after he was involved in a motorbike accident in 2005, participated in able-bodied javelin throw till 2015 before taking a break. Also Read - Video: PM Modi Interacts With Para-Athletes, Says They Motivate Him. Watch
On comeback in 2018, he started participating in para-sports and immediately made an impact, winning silver in the 2019 World Championships in Dubai. Also Read - Tokyo Paralympics 2020: Gold Medallist Pramod Bhagat Gets Hero's Welcome in Home State Odisha
He opened his campaign at Tokyo 2020 with the first throw of 66.95 and followed it up with 68.08 in his season throw, which virtually sealed the issue in his favour as nobody else could manage to come closer to 68.
The 23-year-old clinched India’s second gold of the day after Indian para shooter Avani Lekhara won the 10m Air Rifle – SH1 gold for the country.
He was a wrestler prior to a motorcycle accident before life smiled on him and a new avenue opened up.
“I was not that great a wrestler. In my area of India, the family forces you to become a wrestler,” he quipped.
“I started when I was seven, eight years old, and I continued for four or five years, but not regularly. I was not that good,” Antil said.
“I met with an accident and had my leg amputated. After that, life changed. I went to the stadium just to meet people in 2015, and I saw para-athletes. They said, ‘You have good height and posture, maybe you can be in the next Paralympics’. Who knew I would be the next champion?”
He did become a champion on Monday, and that too, at the sport’s grandest stage.
“This is my first Paralympics and I was a little nervous because the competitors are great. I was hoping for a 70-metre-plus throw, maybe I can do 75m. It was not my best, I am very happy to break the world record.”
(With Agency Inputs)