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)
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
In case you haven't already seen it. Mariyappan Thangavelu. Saw it 5 times and am still blown by it. Just incredible pic.twitter.com/UdgLNRn3iZ— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) September 10, 2016
# 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.