Mariyappan Thangavelu created history on Friday, becoming only the third Indian Paralympic to win a gold medal ever.
Mariyappan Thangavelu won the gold medal in the Men’s High Jump T42 event of Rio 2016 Paralympic Games with a best effort of 1.89 m.
Another Indian, Varun Singh Bhati won the bronze medal in the same event with a best effort of 1.86m. USA’s Sam Grewe, also with a best jump of 1.86m, took the silver.
T-42 is a disability classification in the sport for differently-abled track-and-field athletes with single ‘above the knee’ amputations or a comparable disability.
Hailing from a small village in Tamil Nadu, Mariyappan Thangavelu was left permanently disabled after a bus ran over his right leg at the age of five, crushing his knee.
Varun Singh, on the other hand, suffers from poliomyelitis, which is a deformity in one leg.
India’s overall medal tally at the Paralympics now stands at 10 and is already an improvement on the sole medal in London four years ago, the silver won by Girisha Nagarajegowda in the men’s high jump F42 category.
In a bid to motivate the Paralympians ahead of the Games, the sports ministry had announced that medallists from the prestigious event will be given cash awards at par with the medal winners of last month’s Summer Olympic Games.
“Government of India gives Rs 75 lakh for gold, 50 lakh for silver and 30 lakh for bronze to winning athletes in paralympics – at par with Olympics,” the ministry stated on Twitter.