The rain cost India a gold medal: 2012 High Jump silver medallist Girisha Nagarajegowda
The 2012 silver medallist in High Jump, Girisha tells The Bridge that if not for the rain India would have won gold in Men's T63 High Jump.
India earned a double podium in Men's T63 High Jump at the ongoing Tokyo Paralympics. This was the second double podium finish for India in this edition of Tokyo Paralympics after Devendra Jhajharia and Sundar Singh Gurjar won the silver and bronze in Men's F46 javelin throw yesterday.
Much like the F46 javelin throw, India missed out on a gold in Men's T63 High Jump with Mariyappan Thangavelu and Sharad Kumar winning silver and bronze, respectively.
The event was conducted amidst the rain, and the 2012 London Paralympics silver medallist Girisha Nagarajegowda feels the rain might have had an effect on the performance of the Indian athletes.
"Frankly, I feel rain robbed us of a gold medal. We are not good at competing when it rains, myself included. We struggle to perform with rain. And I feel if it was not for the rain, we would have seen a better performance from all the three Indian jumpers, and we would have possibly won the gold medal," Girisha, who competed in the same category in London, said The Bridge.
The 33-year-old pointed out how the conditions were similar during the 2014 Asian Para Games, where he returned with a bronze.
"If you remember the 2014 Asian Para Games, the conditions were similar to today. I think Varun Bhati was making his international debut then. He struggled and finished fifth, while I ended up with bronze due to my experience," he said.
This same sentiment was echoed by both the medal winners - Sharad Kumar and Mariyappan Thangavelu, in a media interaction after the event.
While Sharad revealed that he had asked the officials to pause the event because the rain was dangerous, Mariyappan stated that he could not execute his plans properly due to the rain.
When these statements from Sharad and Mariyappan were brought to Girisha's notice, he immediately agreed.
"Rain is very detrimental to any jumping event. It is very dangerous, and I was surprised that they did not stop the event for a bit," Girisha said.
The silver medallist was full of praise for both his long time friend Sharad and his workmate Mariyappan.
"Sharad and I have been friends for a long time. He was my first big competitor when I started out with high jump, he is still there going stronger than ever. It has been a wonderful journey for him from 2012 to winning the medal here. Mariyappan, on the other hand, works at the Sports Authority of India Academy in Bangalore as a coach alongside me and this is his second medal. I am just very very happy for both of them."