India’s Rio Paralympians – M Thangavelu
21-year-old Mariyappan Thangavelu, is a para high-jumper from Tamil Nadu.
Thangavelu lost his legs in an accident when he was nine years old but takes inspiration from his own disability. He says he will win a gold medal at the Rio Paralympic Games.
In his school days he was an active volleyball player but his teacher motivated him to try high jump. When he was 14 years old, he came second in his first competition with other able-bodied athletes.
His present coach spotted him at the national para-athletic championships of 2013 and after two years took him for training to Bengaluru.
In 2015, he won a gold medal for high jump at the World Junior Games in Netherlands where he cleared a distance of 1.77 m in the men’s F44 category.
In 2016, Thangavelu cleared a distance of 1.78 m in the men’s high jump T42 event at Tunisia where he comfortably achieved the A-qualification standard of 1.60 for the Rio Games.
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