Mariyappan Thangavelu is an Indian para-athlete high jumper who has represented India at the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janerio and the 2020 Summer Paralympic Games in Tokyo.Mariyappan Thangavelu was born in a poverty-stricken family. Reportedly, his father abandoned the family, and his mother, Saroja, single-handedly raised all her six children. She was working as a construction labourer in the beginning, but after some health issues, she switched to selling vegetables.Mariyappan met with an accident when he was five years old. A drunk driver ran over his leg while he was walking to school; the weight of the bus crushed his leg below the knee, causing it to become stunted. Despite the disability, Mariyappan completed his schooling, followed by a bachelors degree in business administration.Mariyappan initially enjoy playing volleyball; his physical education teacher in school asked him to try his hand at high jumping. In 2013, Mariyappan used to jump on top of a truckload of sand. During a national event meet, he was spotted by Indian high jump coach Satyanarayana, who took him to Bangalore for training. During an interview, Mariyappan said- After he saw me at a national meet, he came and convinced my family and also made arrangements at my college, and trained me here in Bengaluru for about two years. He has been more like a friend to me, supporting me through every practice and every day..For winning the gold medal at the Rio Paralympics in 2016, the Government of Tamil Nadu awarded him Rs. 2 crores, and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports rewarded him with a cash prize of Rs. 75 lakh. He received prize money of Rs. 15 lakh from a fund that was formed by Sachin Tendulkar. He also received an amount of Rs. 10 lakh from Yash Raj Films, and the Delhi Golf Club offered him a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakh.With the help of all the prize money he received after winning a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, Mariyappan bought his mother a paddy field so that his brothers and his mother could work in the field to earn a stable income, and he also built a better house for his family.In an interview in 2017, Mariyappan talked about his financial issues and said that even though he had been committed to his athletic career, he is living off the prize money, and he is in desperate need of a steady job to support his family. He also requested the Tamil Nadu government to help him find a job, but he did not receive any response from them. Mariyappan during his early days of high jump practice.In October 2018, Mariyappan became the flag bearer during the opening ceremony for the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta. The Indian Express In the same year, he was selected as a Group A post coach with the Sports Authority of India, along with eleven Olympians and two other Paralympians. The Indian Express.During the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, Sharad Kumar and Mariyappan were competing against the American para-athlete Sam Grewe and with each other for the podium finish. However, Kumar won a bronze medal with a record of 1.83 m high jump, and Mariyappan won the silver medal in the Mens High Jump T63 event as he failed to clear the 1.88 m bar height. After the ceremony, in an interview, he said- The sock on my other leg (the impaired right leg) got wet and it was difficult to jump. I have cleared 1.90m in the past. But the rain played spoilsport..Mariyappan follows a life motto that had helped him through tough times, which is Try and try again, you will succeed in the end. He believes that the motto had helped him keep going in life and the game as well.