Every champion’s journey is an inspiration. And India’s golden boy Mariyappan Thangvelu’s story is also same. Mariyappan Thangavlu went through a lot of hardship before winning the gold at Rio Paralympics last year. The gold medal that 21-year-old Mariyappan’s win at the event has turned out to be the proverbial silver lining of his life. It is his enterprising coach Satyanarayana who hits the bull’s eye on how life has changed for Mariyappan after his great feat.

Mariyappan Thangavelu hails from Salem, Tamil Nadu. Mariyappan feels that winning a gold is not beyond him. All he dreams of is to be able to participate in the event, and, then he would be happy to settle down with a good job to take care of his mother.

Here is what you should know about the Paralympics Gold medallist Mariyappan Thangavlu

  • Mariyappan’s mother is the sole bread winner of his family by selling vegetables on a cycle. She earns close Rs 200 a day. Mariyappan has 3 other siblings and his father had abandoned the family over a decade ago. His mother took a loan of 3 lakh for his medical treatment which is yet to be paid off even after the 15 years of the accident.
  • Mariyappan met with an accident aged five with a speeding bus resulted in his right leg getting crushed below the knee which leaves him with a permanent disability.
  • Mariyappan’s favourite sport is Volleyball. He kept playing the game with the normal people during the school days. When he was 14, he competed against the able bodies in a high jump event on the advice of his Physical Education master. He surprised everybody with winning silver medal.
  • His coach Satyanarayana spotted him at the National Para-Athletics Championship when he was just 18. After rigorous training in Bengaluru, Mariyappan became the world number one in 2015.
  • Winning is not new to Mariyappan. The Tamil Nadu athlete bagged a gold medal at the IPC Tunisia Grand Pix when he jumped his PB of 1.78m which was enough to book a place at the Paralympics.

Mariyappan Thangvelu has certainly place Tamil Nadu on the map with this rare feat. To acknowledge his achievement Mariyappan will be awarded Padma Shri for 2017.

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