Imphal (Tripura) [India], Sept. 11 : Former world champion and Arjuna award winner, boxer L. Sarita Devi on Sunday applauded Paralympians Mariyappan Thangavelu and Varun Bhati for winning gold and bronze medals at the ongoing Paralympic Games in Rio.
"First of all I want to congratulate Mariyappan. I am very happy, what we didn't do, he did it. I am very proud. I am getting motivated by him to work more. If they can do so well, then why can't we," Sarita told ANI. Sarita said that the government should give attention for promoting games in India and added that the way the Centre has extended their hands in the support of Olympians, they will get motivated by it.
Mariyappan scripted history at the Paralympic Games, becoming the first Indian para-athlete to bag a gold medal in the men's high jump-T42 finals on day two of the prestigious tournament at the Olympic Stadium.
A bus accident at the age of five left Mariyappan with a permanent disability but he has defied all odds, coupled by the added burden of poverty, with his sensational feat in Rio.
In a bid to motivate Paralympians ahead of the Rio Paralympics, the Sports Ministry had announced that medallists from the prestigious event will be given the cash awards at par with the medal winners of last month's Summer Olympic Games.
India, which has send its largest-ever delegation of 19 for a Paralympic Games, currently has two medals - gold and bronze.