Mariyappan Thangavelu has been named the flag-bearer or captain of the Indian Paralympic Contingent for Tokyo Paralympics by the Indian Paralympic Committee on Friday. The mega event is scheduled to take place in Japan’s capital city Tokyo from August 24, 2021.
Mariyappan made our country proud when he leaped 1.89 m in the Rio 2016 Paralympics. It was a landmark moment for himself as well as for the whole nation. It is not surprising that PCI (Paralympic Committee of India) has gone on to make him the captain for the Tokyo Paralympics.
The tragic accident
Thangavelu, who hails from the Salem district in Tamil Nadu, suffered a permanent disability at the age of five. He injured his right leg below the knee in an accident. When he started his career, he had to work as a newspaper hawker to support his family. He hasn’t looked back since then.
“A gold medal and a WR in Tokyo is my target and I think I can achieve it,” he believes. The current world record in the T-42 high jump stands at 1.96m and he aims to surpass this WR & win his second gold in Tokyo Paralympics by clearing the 2-meter mark.
What is the T-42 event?
For those who are wondering what T-42 is, in this category the athletes have one or more impairment types affecting the hip and/or knee function in one or both limbs. And with activity limitations in throws, jumps, and running competing without prosthesis.
The 25-year-old has been training within the SAI center in Bengaluru since last October. He believes that this year will be special for him & for his fellow athletes taking part in Tokyo Paralympics.
Mariyappan is additionally a Khel Ratna inductee having received it last year. He will be in action in this Paralympics as he aims to get his hand on the 2nd gold medal and hopefully many more to come.