Sun, Oct 23, 2016 | updated 01:21 PM IST

Anju Bobby George hails Rio Paralympic medallists Mariyappan, Varun

Updated: Sep 10, 2016 13:20 IST

Bengaluru [India], Sept.10 (ANI): Lavishing praises on Mariyappan Thangavelu and Varun Singh Bhati for their gold and bronze medals at the Rio Paralympics, respectively, celebrated long jumper Anju Bobby George said that paralympians are moving up to the expectations while calling for more support for the differently-abled athletes.

Mariyappan scripted history at the Paralympic Games, becoming the first Indian para-athlete to bag a gold medal in the men's high jump-T42 finals on day two of the prestigious tournament at the Olympic Stadium.

The 21-year-old, hailing from Salem district in Tamil Nadu, grabbed the top honours with a best leap of 1.89 metres, while compatriot Varun Singh Bhati produced his personal best mark of 1.86 metres to win the bronze medal.

Meanwhile, India's other medal prospect Sharad Kumar, who was leading at one stage, failed to sustain his momentum as he finished at number six.

"Actually this was expected because in high jump, they were standing in world top. Our paralympians are moving up to our expectations and they did really well with a gold and bronze," Anju told ANI.

"Our paralympians are also getting equal support and recognition from our country. Before that, only normal athletes used to get the support but now they are also getting equal support, getting jobs, cash awards from the government," the former Olympian said, adding that they are waiting for more good performances from the Indian paralympians in the forthcoming days.

A bus accident at the age of five left Mariyappan with a permanent disability but he has defied all odds, coupled by the added burden of poverty, with his sensational feat in Rio.

"They are equally good as our normal athletes and they are also brining glory to the nation. They are from very poor family. We should support them really well. Gold medal is always gold medal be it Olympics or Paralympics," she said.

In a bid to motivate Paralympians ahead of the Rio Paralympics, the Sports Ministry had announced that medallists from the prestigious event will be given the cash awards at par with the medal winners of last month's Summer Olympic Games.

India, which has send its largest-ever delegation of 19 for a Paralympic Games, currently has two medals - gold and bronze. (ANI)