Cheni, Sep 10 : Twenty-two-year-old golden boy Mariyappan Thangavelu is a shy and reserved guy, but when it came to high jump training he was extremely disciplined and braved wounds in his handicapped leg, his coach said.
Thangavelu created history on Friday night by winning a gold medal in the men’s high jump T-42 event at the Rio Paralympics. Thangavelu made a leap of 1.89 metres to pluck the gold medal thereby putting his Periyavadagampatti village in Salem district in Tamil du on the global map.
His family members and friends were much in demand by the media on Saturday.
The leap is expected to take Thangavelu’s family out of poverty. He has two younger brothers and an elder sister. His mother Saroja is a daily wage earner.
The family was watching Thangavelu’s golden jump live on television and they also jumped in joy.
Saroja, Thangavelu’s mother, was a proud lady and thanked all the people who supported her son.
Congratulating Thangavelu on his achievement, Tamil du Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa announced a cash award of Rs.2 crore for the golden boy. “He always used to say that he should achieve something in life despite his handicap. He used to participate in all sports,” Srinivasan, a friend of Thangavelu told IANS.
A holder of Bachelor’s in Business Administration (BBA) degree, Thangavelu is yet to get a proper job.
He lost one of his legs at the age of five while playing outside his house when a state owned bus crushed it.
Thangavelu trained under K. Elamparithi, athletics coach at Sports Development Authority of Tamil du (SDAT), Salem around 350 km from here. IANS