THE 2016 PARALYMPIAN MEDALISTS AND THEIR JOURNEY
"The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it." -Molière
They were different, they were special. They did have some physical disabilities but they did not let that affect them mentally. Life is full of ups and downs but they made sure their lowest falls resulted to their highest rise.
They are the paralympians. Just like any other sport person they were full of enthusiasm and a spirit, and confident to make the nation proud by winning medals at the Paralympics. What makes them special is the story.
Here are stories of few of the paralympians who represented India in Rio 2016. The story of their life, their struggle, their determination, their fall and their rise will surely inspire everyone to never give up.
MARIYAPPAN THANGAVELU (HIGH-JUMP)
"Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are." -Bernice Johnson Reagon
At the age of five, an accident in his home left him with permanent disability when a bus severed his leg below the knee. But that didn't stop him from competing in his favourite sports. When he was 14, he came second in high jump competing along with able-bodied athletes. At the age of 20, this boy from Periavadagampatti, in Tamil Nadu, won the gold medal in Paralympics Rio - 2016 with his phenomenal jump of 1.89 meters.
VARUN BHATI (HIGH JUMP)
"A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it." -Ray Davis
Indian para-athlete Varun Singh Bhati, who clinched the bronze medal in the men's high jump T-42 event at the Rio Paralympics. Bhati jumped his personal best of 1.86 metres to finish third. Afflicted by Polio at a young age, Varun somehow managed to find the right balance in sport and education and excelled in both the fields. Despite his disability, he took to high jump from his school days and consistently got better. He competed on many occasions with able-bodied athletes and the results of his perseverance were visible in the Games this year.
DEVENDRA JHAJHARIA (JAVELLIN)
"Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional." - Roger Crawford
The Rajasthan born athlete, with an amputated left hand, was awarded the Arjuna award in 2004 and the Padma Shri in 2012, becoming the first Paralympian to receive the honour.
He was electrocuted while climbing a tree when he was eight years old and his left hand had to be amputated. But that didn’t deter him from pursuing his dreams.
Devendra won gold in the javelin event at the 2004 Athens Paralympics with a record throw of 62.15 metres, becoming only the second gold medallist at the Paralympics for his country, and improved upon it with an attempt of 63.97 meters in Rio Paralympics.
DEEPA MALIK (SHOT-PUT)
"The key to life is accepting challenges. Once someone stops doing this, he’s dead." - Bette Davis
This charming and gorgeous this lady, won millions of hearts worldwide not just with her smile but with her throw , which won her a silver medal in shot put making her India's first women to win a medal at Paralympics. She was left paraplegic and got confined to the wheel chair after a spinal tumor. But being someone who was very active in outdoor activities and very adventurous, she could not take the fact that people would see her as a patient and she would have to spend the rest of her life on bed and on wheel chair. So at the age of 36 she decided to join sports again, and with all the hard-work and determination today at the age of 46 she stands as one of the strongest women of the nation. Other than shot-put she also is a swimmer and a biker.