Wants to throw javelin to 70m and set a benchmark for all, says para-athlete Sumit Antil
By B. Shrikant
Mumbai, December 21 (IANS): Paralympic gold medalist and multiple record-breaker in the F64 javelin throw category, Sumit Antil has set a new goal for 2023 – to break the 70-meter mark and set a new benchmark for all para-athletes.
Antil, who won a gold medal in the F64 category at last year’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and broke the world record three times in the finals, holds the latest record of 68.62 meters he set at the Indian Open National Para Athletics Championships Bengaluru in August this year.
After approaching 70 meters, Antil said he was working hard to surpass the mark. This would make him the first athlete in all para javelin disciplines to exceed 70 meters.
“No one has managed to cross the 70 meter mark so far, that’s my next goal. I’m working hard on it and with the support of my team, the Sports Authority of India (SAI), the Ministry of Sport and the GoSports Foundation, I’m confident that I’ll be able to make it to the 70m distance very soon.” , said Antil on the sidelines of the GoSports Athletes Conclave.
In addition to the Asian Para Games, Antil also has his eye on next year’s World Para Athletics Championships and aims to win gold at both events. Of course, the Paralympic Games in Paris in 2024 remains the ultimate goal as he wants to keep the gold he won in Tokyo in 2021.
The 24-year-old believes if he can break the 70m mark he will set a new standard in javelin throw for all para-athletes, so achieving his goals won’t be too difficult.
When asked if he had done anything differently to be successful in 2022, Antil, who switched from his first love of wrestling to sports after his left leg was amputated in an accident aged 17, followed his usual routine, which he had set before the Paralympics in Tokyo.
“I did special training for the Tokyo Paralympic Games. I competed in the Asian Championships a few months earlier and it was quite cold at the time and it was raining on the day of the competition as well. Although I was lucky and won a gold medal in this case I didn’t get a good distance.
When I returned home I consulted my coaches and supervisors and we decided on a special training program for the Paralympics as rain was expected in Tokyo at the time. So I trained on a wet track with a wet javelin to prepare,” said Antil.
The javelin thrower said his ultimate goal was to break the 80-meter mark. Antil said he was misquoted regarding his dream of competing against the able-bodied in the Olympics and said he would only call him after crossing the 80m
“The immediate goal is to get to 70m. I never said I wanted to compete against the able-bodied at the Olympics. I started javelin throwing five to six years ago and I still have a lot to achieve in my discipline. The first goal is to overcome 70 meters,” said Antil.
The 80m and the Olympics are definitely things he dreams of. And with the support of SAI, the Ministry of Sport and GoSports, Antil hopes that one day he will fulfill all his dreams. Sumit Antil has achieved so much in athletics despite his accident and knows that nothing is impossible if you work hard for it. He does today.