Updated May 21st, 2024 at 18:08 IST

Paralympics champion Sumit defends F64 javelin world title, India jump to third

He also holds the World Para Athletics Championships record of 70.83m which he had produced while winning the gold in the last edition in Paris in 2023.

Javelin Thrower Sumit Antil | Image:AP
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Reigning Paralympics champion Sumit Antil on Tuesday defended his F64 javelin throw world title while Thangavelu Mariyappan and Ekta Bhyan also grabbed gold medals in their respective events as India jumped to third place in the World Para Athletics Championships here.

With five medals won on a productive fifth day, India's tally swelled to 10 (4 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze) and the country is currently placed below China (15 gold, 13 silver, 13 bronze) and Brazil (14 gold, 6 silver, 5 bronze).

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Antil, who had won gold medals in the Tokyo Paralympics and 2023 World Para Athletics Championships, sent his spear to a distance of 69.50m to stand on top of the podium.

The 25-year-old Haryana athlete thus continued his global domination in the F64 javelin event. He is the current world record holder also, courtesy his massive 73.29m throw while winning gold in the Para Asian Games in Hangzhou, China last year.

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He also holds the World Para Athletics Championships record of 70.83m which he had produced while winning the gold in the last edition in Paris in 2023.

Compatriot Sandeep won the bronze medal in the same event with a throw of 60.41m. Sri Lanka's Dulan Kodithuwakku took the silver with a throw of 66.49m.

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Antil was the leader all through the event in the nine-man field as he opened with a 68.17m effort before coming up with his day's best jump of 69.50m in the second attempt. His next four attempts read 64.04m, 65.58m, 69.03m and 68.08m.

Sonipat's Antil wanted to pursue a career in wrestling, but in 2015, when he was 17, his motorbike was hit by a speeding truck while he was returning home from a tuition class.

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As a result, his left leg was amputated and he had to abandon his dream of becoming a wrestler. His father, employed in Indian Air Force, died when he was seven.

Tokyo Paralympics silver winner Mariyappan also grabbed a gold in T63 high jump with a championship record of 1.88m. This was his first gold in a major event in eight years.

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The 28-year-old Mariyappan won gold in T42 high jump in the 2016 Rio Paralympics and a silver in the Tokyo edition in 2021 in T63. He also won a silver in the T63 class in the Hangzhou Para Asian Games last year.

The T63 classification is for athletes with single through knee or above knee limb deficiency competing with a prosthesis.

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Americans Ezra Frech and Sam Grewe won silver and bronze with jumps of 1.85m and 1.82m respectively.

Hailing from Salem district in Tamil Nadu, Mariyappan was raised by his daily wage labourer mother who also sells vegetables after his father abandoned the family.

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At the age of five, Mariyappan suffered permanent disability in his right leg when he was run over by a drunk bus driver while walking to school. Before taking up sport, he would do the job of newspaper hawker and work at construction sites to help his mother run the family.

Earlier in the day, Ekta Bhyan secured the gold medal with a season's best throw of 20.12m in the women' F51 club throw competition. Another Indian Kashish Lakra took the silver with an effort of 14.56m in the same event.

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Ekta, a Haryana Civil Services (HCS) officer, had won a bronze medal in the Hangzhou Para Asian Games.

The 38-year-old Ekta, who took up sports after her selection in the Haryana government as HCS officer, also won gold medal in the club throw event at the 2018 Para Asian Games in Jakarta.

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Ekta wanted to pursue a career in medicine but an accident in 2003 cut short her dream. The accident happened near Kundli in Sonepat district when a truck overturned on her cab on the Delhi-Haryana border.

While she suffered quadriplegic spinal cord injury and remains wheelchair-bound, six other students were killed in the accident. 

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Published May 21st, 2024 at 18:08 IST