PM Modi leads country in lauding Paralympic medallists
NEW DELHI: From Prime Minister Narendra Modi to India's lone individual Olympic gold-medallist Abhinav Bindra, congratulatory messages poured in from all corners for Rio Paralympic Games' T-42 high-jump gold-medallist Mariyappan Thangavelu and bronze winner Varun Bhati.
"India is elated! Congratulations to Mariyappan Thangavelu on winning a gold & Varun Singh Bhati for the bronze at the #Paralympics," Modi tweeted for the duo. Under the Sports Ministry's Cash Award Scheme, Mariyappan will get Rs 75 lakh and Bhati will be presented Rs 30 lakh for their feat.
The prize money is at par with the medal winners from last month's Olympic Games as was announced by the Ministry before the Games. Thangavelu won the yellow metal with his best jump of 1.89 metres, while Bhati's best effort of 1.86m fetched him the bronze.
The silver medal in this event went to USA's Sam Grewe who also registered the same mark of 1.86 metres. Bindra welcomed Thangavelu to the gold medal club while congratulating the duo for their feat. "Mariyappan joins the gold medal club, welcome! Kudos 2 @GoSportsVoices for aiding Varun Bhati who won bronze! Champs," he tweeted.
Sports Minister Vijay Goel also heaped praise on the duo. "Congratulations to Mariyappan Thangavelu for winning #Gold & Varun Singh Bhati for winning #bronze in Men's high Jump at Rio," he said. "It is a big achievement and I am very proud of our athletes," he added. Rio Olympics bronze-medallist Sakshi Malik said the two are an inspiration for other athletes.
"Indian sports mein prerna ki kami nahin hai (there is no dearth of inspiration in Indian sports). Congrats Mariyappan Thangavelu aur Varun Bhati aapke gold aur bronze ke liye. #Paralympics," she tweeted. Filmstar Amitabh Bachchan also congratulated the duo. "T2375 -#Paralympics joy for India .. Gold & Bronze for Thangavelu and Bhatti in high jump ! COME ON INDIA !!!," he tweeted. "Never seen anything more inspirational than this.
Congrats Mariyappan Thangavelu #Paralympics #gold," added former hockey captain Viren Rasquinha. Beijing Olympics bronze-medallist boxer Vijender Singh hoped that the two athletes would be accorded the same honours that were bestowed on Olympic medallists P V Sindhu and Sakshi.
"Hope india give the same prize money and honour to Paralympic athletes ???? #Rio2016Paralympics," he said. Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju also congratulated Thangavelu and Bhati. "Congratulations to Mariyappan Thangavelu on winning a gold & Varun Singh Bhati for the bronze at the #Paralympics," he said.
Olympic bronze-medallist boxer M C Mary Kom said it was a proud moment for the country. "Congratulation. Both of you has make all Indians PROUD. #KheloIndia," she said.
The Indian Cricket Board was not to be left behind either and posted, "Congratulations Mariyappan Thangavelu & Varun Bhati on winning #Gold & #Bronze respectively at Rio #Paralympics."
Congress President Sonia Gandhi also lauded the duo, calling their achievement historic. "...history has been created today. Outstanding lives and games of these athletes will inspire generations to come," the party's official twitter handle quoted her as saying.