Chennai, Sep 11 (tamilnaducentral): Thangavelu Mariappan of Periyavadagampatti village in Salem district scripted history on Friday night by clinching a gold medal in the men’s high jump T-42 event at the Rio Paralympics, a first-ever for the country.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.
Thangavelu Mariappan has made the country proud and put Tamil Nadu on the global map. He made a leap of 1.89 metres to bag the gold medal.
22-year-old Mariyappan Thangavelu is a shy boy,who mostly keeps to himself. He has two younger brothers and an elder sister. His mother Saroja is a daily wage earner,who earns her livelihood by selling vegetables. He holds a BBA degree but has no regular job.He was injured when he was five years old but when it came to high jump training, he braved his disability and trained hard,his coach said.
Thangavelu trained under K. Elamparithi, athletics coach at Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT),Salem. Elamparithi said that Thangavelu was participating and winning in school and inter-collegiate competitions. He said he changed his high jump technique to Finsbury Flop from Belly Roll, after which his performance scaled up along with the pole height.
Congratulating Thangavelu on his historical achievement, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa announced a cash award of Rs.2 crore for the golden boy. The Sports Ministry of India has announced a cash reward of Rs 75 lakh for the winning high jumper.
Congratulatory messages are pouring in for Thangavelu Mariappan.The latest to greet him is Superstar Rajinikanth who wished the golden boy on his Twitter page.Congratulating Thangavelu Mariappan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has tweeted that India is elated.