Rio gold medallist men's high jumper, Mariyappan Thangavelu, has been named as the captain of the Indian contingent at the Tokyo Paralympics, set to be held from August 25-September 5.
Mariyappan became a landmark name in Rio Paralympics when he leapt 1.89 metres to fetch the gold medal for India. Because of his achievement, the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) has decided to make him India's flagbearer at the Paralympics.
Mariyappan qualified for the Games after he jumped 1.86m during the two-day qualification trials held in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi, which concluded on Wednesday.
The executive committee of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) is supposed to meet on Friday to decide on the names of the para athletes who will be representing India at the Paralympics. The PCI has already sent a tentative list of para athletes to the International Paralympic Committee.
India has been allotted 24 slots in para athletics by the World Para Athletics. 72 para-athletes took part in the trials.
The athletics team for India will also comprise Asian Para Games gold medallists Amit Kumar Saroha and Sandeep Chaudhary. Meanwhile, javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia, rewrote his own world record once again as he punched his ticket for the Tokyo Paralympics during the trials. The 40-year-old, who has won two gold medals in the men's F-46 category at the Paralympics, sent the spear to a distance of 65.71m. With that effort, he not only sealed a spot for the Tokyo Paralympics but also bettered his own world record of 63.97m, set at the Rio Games in 2016.
In 2017, Mariyappan got embroiled in a controversy when he was accused of committing the murder of a 19-year-old Satish Kumar, who was found dead near a railway track in the Salem district in Tamil Nadu. Mariyappan lost his right leg at the age of five when a bus crushed it below the knee, was one of two Indian gold medallists at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, with compatriot Jhajharia topping the men's javelin throw F46 podium. There was also a silver for Deepa Malik, in the women's shot put F53, and Bhati's high jump bronze.