Salem: Periyavadakkampatti, a remote village in the mango district has suddenly found a place on the sports map of the world as a boy from its soil, Mariyappan Thangavelu, has jumped to fame winning the gold medal at the Rio Paralympics.
Mariyappan met with a road accident at the age of three and his right leg was amputated by seven inches. When he was 10 years old, the family thought of committing suicide due to poverty. It was Mariyappan who persuaded his family to live, promising to achieve in life and make them happy.
Neither poverty nor his handicap could stop him from achieving glory. Although, his right leg was cut off, he had wings of confidence and hard work to fly to the top. His mother Saroja is most elated over her son’s feat.
“I have four children including Mariyappan. My husband Thangavel separated from the family many years ago and we eked out living by working at a brick kiln industry. As I had heart ailments due to hard work, I switched to selling vegetables”.
The entire village wore a festive look as villagers burst crackers and distributed sweets. The villagers were watching the live telecast. The mood in AVS arts college at Salem, where Mariappan studied was not less jubilant as teachers joined the students in the celebrations.