Mariyappan Thangavelu, an Indian paralympic champion, has established himself as one of the nation's top athletes. The 27-year-old shot to fame during the 2016 Rio Paralympics event with a gold-medal winning performance. Thangavelu was born on June 28th, 2023 in Periavadagampatti village, Salem district, Tamil Nadu.
Mariyappan Thangavelu's humble background:
Saroj, Mariyappan Thangavelu's single mother, raised him in a modest home. In order to provide for her children's upbringing and education, she first worked as a daily wager and later as a vegetable vendor.
Thanagavelu did attend college, earning a business administration bachelor's degree from the AVS College of Arts & Sciences. Here is where he was initially noticed for his talent, and the young man hasn't looked back since. Thagavelu spent a portion of his prize money after his victory in Rio to provide his mother a better place to live.
It's worth noting that Thangavelu was initially interested in volleyball and aspired to make a career out of it. His focus shifted to high jump after a school teacher encouraged him to do so.
Mariyappan Thangavelu's sets an Asian record in Rio:
The 1.89m effort from the then-21-year-old had a lot to be admired. He was the first Indian and only the third overall to win a gold medal in the high jump competition. But his outstanding performance also smashed the previous F-42 Asian record, which still stands as the record for the region.
When Mariyappan Thangavelu almost gave up on the sport:
After facing rejection from the 2012 Paralympic Games, Mariyappan Thangavelu nearly gave up the sport. He resumed his national competitions, but his drive had started to wane. 2013's national meet was where things started to get better.
Thangavelu's talent was spotted by Bangalore-based athletics coach Satyanarayana, who receives funding from the Sports Academy of India (SAI) for the disabled.
Satyanarayana took Thangavelu under his wing. Satyanarayana was able to provide Thangavelu with improved facilities and appropriate training thanks to the assistance of the sporting federation. Four years after the young person's initial failure, those efforts were successful in Rio.