London Paralympics Games medallist H.N. Girisha knows the value of a helping hand; so it came as no surprise when he chose to assist an upcoming para athlete with a kind gesture of his own.
Mr. Girisha, who won silver in the high jump event at London, presented Tamil Nadu’s T. Mariyappan — who won the high jump event at the National Paralympics Athletics here on Thursday — with Rs. 5,000.
Speaking to The Hindu, the 25-year-old high jumper said the award was a “spur of the moment” decision as he recalled the time he spent as a struggling athlete. “Many people have helped me in the past and I want to do the same for Mariyappan. Athletes like Saina Nehwal and others have given me money, which was a source of great encouragement. There were times when I received [even] Rs.100 from well-wishers; all these contributions were important for my career.”
“Mariyappan is from a poor background, just like me. It doesn’t matter if [it] is a large or small sum, it is about showing the athlete that you care... There aren’t many Indian [para] athletes who can challenge me in high jump now; I hope Mariyappan can change this in the near future,” Mr. Girisha said.
The national championship — which concluded at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Thursday — was organised by the Paralympic Academy of India. The Karnataka athlete, who is on the board of directors of the academy, and his coach Satyanarayana are elated with the response the event received.
“We had para athletes here from 24 States, and it gladdens my heart to watch these sportspersons do well. Para sports is neglected here in India, and such events will give the competitors a big boost. It can get even better with government and corporate sponsorship.”