Mariyappan: 'Award a message to youth that hardwork will reap fruits'

"I am very happy. My coach (Satyanarayana) informed me about the government selecting me for the Padma award. I thank my mother, coach and the government and all others for my achievements," the 21-year old high jumper said.

Thangavelu Mariyappan

Thangavelu Mariyappan won the gold in the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in September last with an effort of 1.89 metres

Elated over the Padma Shri honour for him, Rio Paralympics gold medalist Thangavelu Mariyappan today said it was a message to the youth that hardwork will always reap fruits.

"I am very happy. My coach (Satyanarayana) informed me about the government selecting me for the Padma award. I thank my mother, coach and the government and all others for my achievements," the 21-year old high jumper said.

"Message for the youth is hardwork will reap all fruits," he told reporters in his native village Periyavadagampatti about 50 km from Salem in western Tamil Nadu.

He won the gold in the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in September last with an effort of 1.89 metres in the T-42 High Jump event, edging out world champion Sam Grewe of the USA, who registered 1.86 m.

Mariyappan had fought all odds after suffering permanent disability in the right leg when he was run over by drunk bus driver at the age of five. His father had abandoned the family and he was raised by his mother who used to work as a labourer.

The athlete was awarded Rs 2 crore cash prize by then Chief Minister late Jayalalaithaa for his feat in Rio.