It looks like India’s luck is shining at this year’s Paralympics. After two golds, the country’s star athletes now win silver and bronze in the high jump. While Sharad Kumar managed to secure the bronze medal, Thangavelu Mariyappan won the silver medal.
Mariyappan’s Journey To The Silver Medal
Mariyappan got his training at the Sports Authority of India Centre in Bangalore before coming to the Paralympics. He earned his form under coach Satyanarayana.
He had had a permanent disability from 5 years old when a drunk bus driver permanently ran over his right leg. When his father left them, he fought many hardships and worked beside his mother as a laborer before becoming a vegetable seller.
However, he has not stopped since then. He has proven to be the best high jumper globally, and that’s a true Olympic spirit.
— Doordarshan Sports (@ddsportschannel) August 31, 2021
Mariyappan cleared 1.86 meters at the high jump but could not beat American high jumper Sam Grewe, who scored above 1.88 meters. Mariyappan won the gold medal for his notable jump of 1.89 meters at the Rio Paralympics. However, he was disappointed after not winning the gold this time. He said:
“I could have won gold and claimed the world record. I came here with that aim. But the rain played spoilsport. It was a drizzle initially but after the 1.80m mark, it became heavy. The sock on my other leg got wet and it was difficult to jump.”
He also said that when they were competing in the Rio Paralympics, the weather was remarkable, which contributed a lot to his victory. He promises to try again for the gold medal in 2024.
Sharad Kumar Thought Of Quitting Paralympics
Yes, as bizarre as it sounds, Sharad Kumar thought of quitting the Paralympics. Due to a knee injury, he decided to pull out from the competition, but his family asked him to go on. They told him to read Bhagwad Gita, and indeed that helped him a lot. He said:
“I had an injury on my leg, meniscus dislocated yesterday. I thought of pulling out today but spoke to my family back home. They said just go ahead.”
Kumar became paralyzed at the sensitive age of 2 after he got a spurious polio vaccine. Before competing in the Paralympics, he was training in Ukraine for two years. It was under coach Nikitin Yevhen. However, as the covid19 lockdown restrictions were becoming prominent, the Indian government helped him return to India.
The indomitable @sharad_kumar01 has brought smiles on the faces of every Indian by winning the Bronze Medal. His life journey will motivate many. Congratulations to him. #Paralympics #Praise4Para pic.twitter.com/uhYCIOoohy
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 31, 2021
The 29-yeard old high jump star came from a low-income family. His father said that their family had to take a loan to send their child to school, and it is in that school in Darjeeling, Jumar took an interest in high jumping. It looks like his indomitable spirit had finally paid him off when he scored 1.83 meters and got the Bronze medal.
What We Think
Both Mariyappan and Kumar show us that even if your body is not as fit or perfect as others, we should never lose hope. However, until the very end of the competition, both Mariyappan and Kumar were locked in an intense fight. Still, ultimately the former won the silver medal, and the latter settled for a bronze. We wish the athletes all the very best in their future performances.