India got its name in the medals tally when Mariyappan Thangavelu bagged the gold medal and Varun Bhati the bronze medal in the men’s T42 High Jump event on day two of the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. However, Sharad Kumar couldn’t finish on the podium along with his fellow teammates.
Thangavelu won the gold medal thanks to his best jump of 1.89 metres while Bhati registered a best mark of 1.86m. Silver went to USA’s Sam Grewe who also registered the same mark of 1.86 metres.
Kumar led the pack at one stage after clearing hurdles of 1.55m and 1.60m but he could only register a best of 1.77m which wasn’t enough to bring him into medal contention – thus finishing sixth.
Competition for the podium seemed to be hotting up as six out of the 12 athletes had cleared the 1.74m mark in their first eight attempts.
In the 10th attempt, Mariyappan cleared the 1.77m mark successfully, along with three others – Poland’s Lukasz Mamczarz, China’s Zhiqiang Zhing and Kumar.
With the contest being reduced to three competitors, Bhati reached a step closer to the gold as he cleared the 1.83m mark along with Mariyappan while Kumar failed to improve. However, just when it looked like India would have a gold and a silver to take home, the American cleared the hurdle of 1.86m to grab the top spot but the Indians also equalled the height to make it even.
Eventually, in a nail biting finale, Mariyappan grabbed the top honours in Brazil by finishing with a jump of 1.89m as opposed to Sam Grewe’s and Varun Bhati’s reach of 1.86m.
— Reddit Indian Sports (@redditIndSports) 10 September 2016
Bhati’s bronze medal winning 1.86m is also his personal best.