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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

The incredible journey of Mariyappan Thangavelu

While the country was agog over the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, the amazing feats of a Indian athletes at the Paralympics went largely unnoticed

India’s success at the Rio Olympics eventually rested on the shoulders of two women—P.V. Sindhu (silver) and Sakshi Malik (bronze), resulting in the celebration, rightly, of flower power back home. But somewhat lost in the din was the spectacular performance of the Paralympic team, which returned with a record haul of four medals—Mariyappan Thangavelu (gold), Devendra Jhajharia (gold), Deepa Malik (silver) and Varun Singh Bhati (bronze).

The triumph of Thangavelu, who suffered permanent disability at the tender age of five after a drunk bus driver ran over his right leg, is a classic tale of Olympic spirit. Read on to find out more about how the son of a vegetable seller from Periyavadagampatti village in Tamil Nadu struggled against all odds to make it to the podium at Rio.

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