Ankeny man brings home bronze medal from Tokyo Paralympics

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 7:56 AM CDT
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(WOI) - An Ankeny native is back home after competing in the Tokyo Paralympic games.

Justin Phongsavanh took home the Bronze in the javelin, just three-months after Justin set a world record in June.

However, none of this was his original plan. He said he had no intention of going to college. That changed five-years ago when he was shot at an Ankeny McDonald’s, paralyzing him from the waist down.

As he started to rehabilitate, he says he began to view the world differently, and was inspired to try out the javelin throw.

In 2017, he began training for the Paralympics.

He competed alongside other athletes in the “F54” classification, in which athletes have full arm mobility but are paralyzed from the waist down.

“So we sit in a chair that’s strapped down to the ground,” Phongsavanh explained. “Then there’s a pole that sits in the middle of the chair that we hold onto, so when we hold the javelin, then can pull and get speed forward to throw the javelin.”

He took home the bronze in Tokyo after throwing a little over 31 meters.

He said it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the sky’s the limit.

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