Rio de Janeiro, Mariyappan Thangavelu became only the third Indian ever to clinch a Paralympic gold, while Varun Bhati secured a bronze as the duo scripted history for the country in the men's T42 high jump event of the ongoing Rio Games here.
The 21-year-old Thangavelu, who was merely five-years-old when his right leg was crushed by a speeding bus while he was
on his way to school, joined Murlikant Petkar (1972, swimming) and Devendra Jhajharia (2004, javelin throw) in the Indian
Paralympics gold club.
Thangavelu won the yellow metal with his best jump of 1.89m, leaving behind world champion Sam Grewe of the USA who
Bhati's best effort was also 1.86m but he had to settle for the bronze medal on count-back, making it the first instance of two Indians finishing on the podium in the same event of a Paralympic Games.
The T-42 classification is for athletes with lower limb deficiency, leg length difference, impaired muscle power or
impaired range of movement.
In the same event, there was disappointment for another Indian athlete Sharad Kumar who failed to finish on the
Kumar had led the pack at one stage after clearing 1.55m and 1.60m but his best jump was only 1.77m which placed him at
the sixth position overall.
The event witnessed massive competition as six out of the 12 para athletes cleared the 1.74m mark in their first eight
In his 10th attempt, Thangavelu jumped 1.77m successfully, along with three others Poland's Lukasz
Mamczarz, China's Zhiqing Zhing and countrymate Kumar.