New Delhi [India], Sept. 10 : President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday congratulated Mariyappan Thangavelu on becoming the first Indian high jumper to win a Gold Medal at the Rio Paralympic Games-2016.
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.
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.
In a message sent to Thangavelu, the President has said, "Hearty congratulations on becoming the first Indian high jumper to win a Gold Medal at the Rio Paralympic Games-2016." "Your achievement will inspire confidence amongst all Indian sportspersons that they can reach the pinnacle of any sport at the international level.
It will also in particular motivate and fill with pride the differently-abled people of our country. The entire nation joins me in celebrating your success. Please accept my best wishes for all future endeavours," he added. 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.