Indian athletes have created history when Mariyappan Thangavelu, Deepa Malik and Varun Singh Bhati won the gold, silver and bronze medals respectively at the Rio Paralympics. While, Deepa Malik becomes the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympics, Mariyappan Thangavelu became India’s first gold medallist at the current 2016 Paralympics.
Mariyappan Thangavelu, 21, has won India’s first gold medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. He won the gold medal in the Men’s High Jump T-42 event with jump of 1.89 metres. With this, Thangavelu became the first Indian high-jumper to win gold at the Paralympics. In addition, India’s Varun Singh Bhati won the bronze medal in same event with the jump of 1.86 metres to finish third.
The T42 is a classification for sports events based on disability category. The events are organized for those athletes who have some knee seizures or similar disabilities.
Mariyappan Thangavelu’s gold medal was India’s overall third gold at the Paralympics and the first after 12 years. At Rio 2016, he joined Murlikant Petkar (1972, swimming) and Devendra Jhajharia (2004, javelin throw) in the exclusive Indian Paralympics gold club. In a moving gesture, as an effort on his part to give back to his community, the athlete has decided to donate Rs 30 lakh prize money to his school in Tamil Nadu.
India’s Deepa Malik won a silver medal at the Rio Paralympics in the women’s shot put - F53 event with a personal best throw of 4.61 m. With this she became the first Indian woman to win a medal in the Paralympic history. This is India’s third medal in the Rio games.
Despite being paralysed down the chest, Deepa has excelled in many sports winning numerous national and international medals.
In the last edition of Paralympics held in London in 2012, India had won just a silver medal.