New Delhi [India], Sept. 10 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday hailed India's Mariyappan Thangavelu and Varun Bhati for bagging a gold and bronze respectively at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
"India is elated! Congratulations to Mariyappan Thangavelu on winning a gold (and) Varun Singh Bhati for the bronze at the #Paralympics.
#Rio2016," he said in a tweet. Thangavelu scripted history at the ongoing Rio Paralympics, 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.
The 21-year-old, hailing from Salem district in Tamil Nadu, grabbed the top honours with a best leap of 1.89 metres, while compatriot Varun Singh Bhati produced his personal best mark of 1.86 metres to win the bronze medal behind American Sam Grewe, who also registered the same mark.
India's other medal prospect Sharad Kumar, who was leading at one stage, failed to sustain his momentum as he finished at number six.
Thangavelu's gold is only India's third in Paralympics history. Earlier, swimmer Murlikant Petkar won gold in the 1972 Games and Javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia had won gold in Athens 2004.
India, which has send its largest-ever delegation of 19 for a Paralympic Games, currently has two medals - gold and bronze.