Buoyed by a record-breaking debut gold at the Paralympics, Indian javelin thrower Sumit Antil now wants to compete against the able-bodied athletes at the Paris Olympics in three years' time.
The 23-year-old from Sonepat on Monday produced an awe-inspiring performance when he smashed his own world record not once but five times to clinch the gold in the men's javelin F64 with a throw of 68.55m.
Antil, who has participated in able bodied events including the Indian Grand Prix event, said his goal is to qualify for both Paralympics and the Olympics in 2024 and he will begin his training once he returns to the country.
"I wish to take part in both the Olympics and Paralympics. That's my dream," Antil, who lost his left leg below the knee after he was involved in a motorbike accident in 2015, said in a release issued by Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).
"During my training, I have been touching the 70m-mark. And I dream of throwing between 75 to 80m and that should be enough to compete amongst the able-bodied athletes.
"Once I return from Tokyo, I will be training for that for sure," he added.
Son of a JWO officer in the Indian Army, Antil had competed against Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra in the able-bodied Indian Grand Prix series 3 on March 5 in Patiala where he finished seventh with a best throw of 66.43m.
On Tuesday, Antil bettered the previous world record of 62.88m, also set by him, five times on the day. His last throw was a foul. His series read 66.95, 68.08, 65.27, 66.71, 68.55 and foul.
"At the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships, I settled for the silver. So, I always wanted to win the gold medal," said Antil, who was inspired by Chopra's gold medal show.
"My coaches told me to show aggression in the Paralympics. I am happy I could finally come out with a good performance and inspire the upcoming generation."
The conditions were extremely hot and humid on the day in Tokyo but Antil never looked bothered.
"During the pandemic, I took special permission from the Sports Authority of India to train at home. And I was prepared for all conditions – hot and wet conditions. I used to train late at night and this paid off well," said Antil, who hails from Sonepat.
The Haryana athlete is now hoping that the Paralympic gold will land him a job once he is back in India.
"Currently, I'm unemployed and doing training full time but I hope I will get a job after this. Let's see what happens when I return to India," he signed off.