Paralympic gold medalist javelin thrower Devendra Jhajhadia on Monday became the first para athlete to receive the Padma Bhushan, the country’s third highest civilian honour. Jhajhadia, 40, received the honor from President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Jhajhadia won the gold medal for the first time at the 2004 Athens Paralympics and the second yellow at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He won the silver medal at the Tokyo Paralympics 2020. Four Paralympic medalists were awarded the Padma Awards.
Shooter Avani Lekhara, who won two medals at the Tokyo Paralympics, was awarded the Padma Shri. At the same time, gold medalist javelin thrower Sumit Antil and badminton gold medalist Pramod Bhagat also received Padma Shri.
It is a proud moment for me to receive the Padma Bhushan award from His Excellency the President.
I dedicate this award to my fellow para-athletes for striving despite the challenges.
Many thanks to PM Narendra Modi ji for supporting Paralympic Games@narendramodi pic.twitter.com/7UqHv9UYSQ
— Devendra Jhajharia (@DevJhajharia) March 21, 2022
Jhajhadia said, “For the first time a para athlete has received Padma Bhushan. I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this. Now my responsibility to win more medals for the country has increased. I would tell the youth to work hard. Nothing will come of a minute’s hard work. I have been working hard for the last 20 years.
Lekhara tweeted, “Horred and proud to have received the Padma Shri. This honor is not only a reward for my efforts, but the result of the sacrifices of my family and the support of everyone who has supported me in my career.