At Rio 2016, Thangavelu won India’s first Paralympic gold medal since 2004 with victory in the men’s high jump T42. His achievements and life are now being made in to a film titled “Mariyappan” by director Aishwaryaa Dhanush.
He qualified for Rio in March 2016 clearing a height of 1.78m at the Grand Prix in Tunis, Tunisia. He secured Paralympic gold in Rio with a jump of 1.89m, an Asian record.
Encouraged to take up sport by his physical education teacher, Thangavelu got into athletics while he was a student at school in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
He injured his leg at age nine when a bus rolled over it on his way to school, crushing it below the knee. The accident stunted the growth of his leg.
In 2015, Thangavelu completed a bachelor's degree in business administration from AVS College of Arts and Science.
Further personal information
Sport specific information
He was flag bearer for India at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Para Games in Indonesia. (sportstar.thehindu.com, 02 Oct 2018)
In 2017 he was presented with the Padma Shri Award, India's fourth highest national civilian honour. (paralympic.org, 03 Jul 2017)
|Men's High Jump T42||Final Round||2016-09-09||1|