Top para high-jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu was on Friday named the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent in the Tokyo Paralympics, which begins on August 24.

T. Mariyappan, who will defend the men's high jump (T-42) gold at the Tokyo Paralympics Games, said he was thrilled to be the flagbearer of the Indian team. "I am very happy to be nominated as the captain of the Indian Paralympics Team at Tokyo. I take this opportunity to thank my coach Satyanarayana and all my friends for their support. I am happy to have qualified for the Tokyo Games [with a jump of 1. 86m at the selection trials in New Delhi] and promise that I would do my best and, if possible, win gold with a world record. I also take this opportunity to thank the Tamil Nadu Government, Government of India, Sports Authority of India and the Paralympic Committee of India for their continuous patronage," he said in a video message.

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Speaking to Sportstar on Friday, Satyanarayana said Mariyappan has been training diligently since last October at the SAI Centre (Bengaluru). "There is still time for the Games, which begins on August 24. I feel he can still improve," he said.