Rio Paralympics 2016: India Wins Historic Gold and Silver in High Jump

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Rio Paralympics 2016

In a proud and historic moment for the country, Mariyappan Thangavelu clinched gold along with Varun Singh Bhati who won bronze, in the men’s high jump T-42 event at the Rio Paralympics 2016 on Saturday. This is India’s first gold at the Rio Paralympics. Sharad Kumar, India’s other medal prospect finished at the sixth position.

It was double jubilation for the country. With a leap of 1.89 metres, Thangavelu made history by becoming the first Indian high-jumper to win gold at the Paralympics. Bhati jumped his best effort of 1.86 metres to finish third.

At the the tender age of Thangavelu was injured in a bus accident that left his disabled. While Bhati was diagnosed with polio that led to deformity in his legs. Note that 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.

To recall, HN Girisha was the first Indian high-jumper to win a medal, back in the 2012 Paralympic Games. Thangavelu has now become the third Indian to win gold at Paralympics after Murlikant Petkar, who won in Swimming, in 1972 and Devendra Jhajharia in 2004. As of now, the overall medal tally for India at the Paralympics is three golds, three silvers and four bronze.

A total of 19 para-athletes, the largest-ever delegation from the country, are representing India at the Rio Paralympic Games, from September 7 to 18.

The Sports Ministry had earlier announced that anyone who won a gold medal at the Paralympics would be awarded Rs 75 lakh, while the silver medallists will get Rs 50 lakh and Rs 30 lakh will be given to the bronze medallists.

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