TOKYO — Participating in the Sport Class T63, both the Indian Paralympians, Mariyappan Thangavelu and Sharad Kumar, won silver and bronze in the men’s high jump final at the National Stadium in Tokyo on Aug. 31.

“Just as at Rio 2016, #IND have athletes in the podium places in Men’s High Jump T63 Final! Mariyappan Thangavelu and Sharad Kumar have won #silver and #bronze medals respectively, taking medal tally into double figures!” tweeted the official account of the Indian Olympic Team.

Mariyappan Thangavelu clinched silver after leaping the mark of 1.86 meters. This is his second medal at the Games, having already won a gold in Rio 2016. Meanwhile, Sharad Kumar grabbed bronze after scaling his season-best mark of 1.83 meters.

The Rio 2016 silver medalist, United States of America’s Sam Grewe, clinched gold after successfully jumping the 1.88 meters mark in his third attempt. Another Indian and Rio 2016 bronze medalist Varun Singh Bhati finished seventh with a season-best leap of 1.77 meters.

Amid the heavy downpour in Tokyo, the Indian trio passed on the first five jumps as Varun Singh Bhati started the proceedings on the 6th by successfully jumping the 1.69 meters. Soon, Sharad Kumar and Mariyappan Thangavelu got in the mix from the next jump by scaling the 1.73 meters.

Varun Bhati escaped an early heartbreak as, after two failed attempts, he eventually went clear in his third at 1.73 meters. When the bar was raised again at 1.77 meters, Bhati cleared it with ease in the first attempt before failing at 1.80 meters.

Meanwhile, Sharad and Mariyappan had no difficulties whatsoever as the Indian duo quickly jumped through their way to 1.83 meters without any failed attempt. With the medal confirmed, the Indian pair saw their first red flag of the day on the 1.86 meters.

Mariyappan and USA’s Sam Grewe soon completed the 1.86 meters mark on their third attempt as Sharad had to be satisfied with a bronze after seeing three red flags.

Sam Grewe then buried the ghosts of the Rio 2016 at the 1.88 meters mark as he successfully leaped the bar on the third attempt to climb the top step of the podium. Meanwhile, Mariyappan was not able to clear the obstacle and had to settle with silver.

Mariyappan Thangavelu, the Indian Paralympian, said that he would have cleared the 1.90 meters if conditions were better and not raining heavily.

“At the start, the rain was just a drizzle, so it was not that difficult; we were doing alright, but once it got past 1.80m and the higher jumps, the rain got worse, and the conditions were difficult,” said Thangavelu.

“Especially, the conditions were getting worse for me as my socks got wet, and that made a point of takeoff difficult. That is why I had difficulties at the higher jumps.”

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra

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