Bengaluru, Sep 10: Every champion's journey is an inspiration. And India's golden boy Mariyappan Thangavelu's story is also same. He went through a lot of hardships before winning gold at Rio Paralympics on Friday (September 9).
Thangavelu created history by becoming India's first ever gold medallist in Paralympics high jump (T42 event). He cleared a height of 1.89 metres to clinch the yellow metal. Another Indian - Varun Singh Bhati took bronze in the same event. (Reactions fron Twitter)
The 21-year-old Thangavelu came in for high praise from President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cricketers, athletes and fans.
Here is a brief profile of Thangavelu
Date of birth - June 28, 1995
# Won gold at Rio Paralympics 2016 on September 9
# He qualified for Rio Games after clearing a jump of 1.78 metres at IPL Grand Prix in Tunisia in March this year.
# He comes from Periavadagampatti village (about 50 kilometres from Salem, Tamil Nadu)
# Thangavelu is coached by Satyanarayana in Bengaluru
# When he was 5, Thangavelu was hit by a bus, on way to school. His right leg (below the knee), was crushed in the accident. "It is still a 5-year-old's leg. It has never grown or healed," he told "The Hindu" newspaper in March this year.
# He has a deformed large right toe, which he calls "God". "This (big toe) is what gives me leverage when I jump. It is my God," he told the newspaper.
# The 21-year-old high jumper's mother sells vegetables and took a loan of Rs 3 lakh for his medical treatment. "Life is hard but we are somehow getting by. We are still pay it off (Rs 3 lakh loan)," he told the newspaper.
# Thangavelu started playing volleyball in school but was advised by his physical education teacher to try high jump and he made a mark.
# According to "The Hindu", coach Satyanarayana saw Thangavelu at the 2013 National Para-Athletics Championship and brought him to Bengaluru for training.
# "I want to find a good job and take care of my mother," he had said.
# Satyanarayana is also the coach of HN Girisha, who claimed silver in high jump in 2012 London Paralympics.