Para-athlete Devendra Jhajharia, who became the first Indian to win a gold medal at Para World Athletics Championship , said that legendary Milkha Singh's inspiring words worked wonders during his endeavour to achieve success at the highest level.
"I idolize Milkha Singh as he was one of the first person who told me to get deeply involved with athletics. He once told me that I should be able shut myself out from the rest of the world when I am competing inside the stadium. I should only concentrate on my target," javelin thrower Jhajharia said.
"Also I am indebted to him as he found me deserving enough to get the prestigious Arjuna Award when he was the chairman of the Awards Committee."
On his success at the IPC World Championships, Jhajharia said,"When I entered the stadium, my only aim was to break the championship record of 55.50m, which was held by a Chinese thrower. I was leading after first five attempts but record was not eclipsed till the last throw."
Jhajharia, also a world record holder in the event which he created while winning gold in the 2004 Athens Paralympics, hurled the javelin to 57.04 m in F-46 category, meant for one-armed athletes.
The 32 years old player from Jaipuria Khalsa village of Churu district in Rajasthan now has World Paralympic record in his name.
The 32 year old Indian Railways employee chose to train alone in France to avoid any distraction.
"I did not enter the stadium after opening ceremony. The area outside the stadium is very green and peaceful and I chose to practice there and that too alone. I entered the stadium on the day of competition to avoid any kind of pressure."
Although he has got a job in Railways, Jhajharia wants that noted Para-athletes like him and Girisha, who won silver at the Paralympics in London last year should get a job with the Sports Authority of India where they can train the future generations.
He was only eight years old when he lost his hand but he was determined to excel in sports as he never wanted anyone to sympathise with him.
"I chose sports as I did not want to be called weak. I won All-India Inter-university Games medal in abled category. I think there is a need to change our attitude towards disability. Anyone who is hardworking and determined, can be a champion."