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Rio Paralympics: Who is history-maker Mariyappan Thangavelu?

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).

Rs 2 crore reward for Thangavelu

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)

Golden moment: Thangavelu (left) and Varun. Photo from Rio Paralympics Twitter page

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.

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Story first published: Saturday, September 10, 2016, 11:43 [IST]
Other articles published on Sep 10, 2016