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Mariyappan Thangavelu and Varun Bhati made history as they clinched gold and bronze medals respectively in the men’s T42 High Jump event on day two of the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Thangavelu’s gold is India’s first medal in the Paralympics. He has also become the first to win a gold medal in the Paralympics high jump event. Bhati’s bronze medal brought India’s overall medal tally to two.
Apart from Bhati and Thangavelu, India’s other medal prospect in the event, Sharad Kumar couldn’t clinch a podium finish. Indeed, at one stage, it was Kumar who led the pack 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. On the other hand, 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.
Congragulatory messages poured in for the two athletes. The Tamil Nadu government announced a reward of Rs 2 crore for Thangavelu with the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister lauding his efforts in a release. Both Bhati and Thangavelu are set to receive Rs 75 lakh and Rs 30 lakh respectively under the Sports Ministry’s Cash Award Scheme. The prize money is at par with the medal winners from last month’s Olympic Games as was announced by the Ministry before the Games. Apart from this, various athletes and celebrities also took to twitter to congratulate the medal-winners.
Here is how twitterati reacted:
Indian sports mein prerna ki kami nahin hai.Congrats Mariyappan Thangavelu aur Varun Bhati aapke gold aur bronze ke liye. #Paralympics
— Sakshi Malik (@SakshiMalik) 10 September 2016
— Lt. Anurag Thakur (@ianuragthakur) 10 September 2016
— Gutta Jwala (@Guttajwala) 10 September 2016
— Parimal Nathwani (@mpparimal) 10 September 2016
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) 10 September 2016
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) 10 September 2016
Mariyappan Thangavelu’s high jump gold at the Paralympics is stunning, inspiring and humbling.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) 10 September 2016
— Vasundhara Raje (@VasundharaBJP) 10 September 2016
— Isa Guha (@isaguha) 9 September 2016
— BCCI (@BCCI) 10 September 2016