London Paralympics men’s high jump silver-medalist Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda of Hassan, was accorded a rousing welcome at the Bangalore International Airport on his arrival from Delhi on Wednesday.
Girisha, who clinched a medal in the men’s high jump F42 event with an effort of 1.72 metres, said that he was overwhelmed by the welcome he received and thanked the media, his family and the country for showing support. “My first thanks goes to Karnataka and my fellow- Kannadigas,” he said.
Girisha said that he is not thinking of any jobs and wanted to focus on sports. He also insisted that he did not consider himself disabled, but differently-abled. “Every disabled person must think in this manner,” he added.
“My confidence was low when I first went to participate in the Paralympics but the support from my family, PCI and my coach Satyanarayana helped me gain confidence. Girisha, who has an impairment in his left leg, sailed over a height of 1.
74m in the final of the event to finish second, behind Iliesa Delana of Fiji. Though Girisha’s barefoot scissor leap matched that of gold medalist Iliesa Delana, he had to settle for silver for having committed a fault.
“I have been participating in all coaching camps since 2011 with another high jumper Sharath. I left sports in 2009 but Satyanarayana brought me back and convinced me that I had the potential to bring laurels for the country.
He is also incidentally the first Olympic medalist in athletics from Karnataka, including abled and the diffferently-abled. Girisha was received by top officials of the Department of Youth Services and Sports (DYSS), including Director Baladeva Krishna and office-bearers of PCI with secretary-general Rathan Singh.
A felicitation function was arranged at the DYSS where Sports Minister Appachu Ranjan honoured Girisha. The state government decided to hike the financial reward to Girisha from `5 lakh to `20 lakh