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

The comments came after he won the silver medal in the men’s high jump event.

“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.”

He had missed out on being the flag-bearer at the Opening Ceremony because he was identified as close contact with a Covid-19 infected person.

“If the conditions were better, I would have cleared the 1.90m mark, missing out on being the flag-bearer because of a close Covid-19 contact was upsetting, but I wanted to win the medal for the country,” said Thangavelu.

“I trained separately because of isolation rules in the lead-up to the event.”

Thangavelu and Sharad Kumar won silver and bronze respectively in the men’s high jump final at the National Stadium in Tokyo on Aug. 31. They were both Sport Class T63.

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.

“Soaring higher and higher! Mariyappan Thangavelu is synonymous with consistency and excellence. Congratulations to him for winning the Silver Medal. India is proud of his feat. @189thangavelu #Paralympics #Praise4Para,” said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet.

Thangavelu was also applauded by India’s Minister of External Affairs, S. Jaisankar.

“Congratulations @189thangavelu and @sharad_kumar01 to win silver and bronze medals in Men’s High Jump at the #Paralympics. Applaud your spirit and the marvelous performances,” tweeted Jaisankar.

The official account of the Indian contingent in Tokyo also posted the moment which helped Thangavelu win the silver medal.

“The Rio 2016 champion settles for #Silver at #Tokyo2020 but fought until the end to retain his title! Watch his Men’s High Jump T63 Final attempt,” tweeted the contingent.

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.

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra



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