Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda gave India its first medal at the Paralympic Games after bagging silver in the Men's High Jump F42 event. The 24-year old from Karnataka, who has impairment in his left leg, sailed over a height of 1.74m using the scissors technique in the final of the event to finish second in the presence of an 80,000 capacity crowd on Monday night.
Thus, Nagarajegowda became only the third Indian after javelin thrower Bhimrao Kesarkar and shot put thrower Joginder Singh Bedi in 1984 to claim silver at the Games. Nagarajegowda is supported by Samarthanam, a Bangalore-based Non-governmental organization, and also received aid from the Indian government.
His success gave the country reason to cheer after a disappointing first week for India at Paralympic Games, in which shooters and swimmers failed to advance to the second round and were left empty handed. India’s Sports Minister Ajay Maken was full of praise for the silver medalist and announced a cash reward of 30 lakhs for this achievement.
Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda, who has an impairment in his left leg, gave India its first medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Maken said all the medal winners at the Paralympic Games would be given the same amount of reward money, which was disbursed to the achievers at the Olympics Games. "Paralympic Medal Winners also to get cash awards of same amount as Olympics. Rs 50 lakhs for Gold, 30 lakhs for Silver and 20 lakhsBronze. Nagaraj gets 30 lakhs!," Maken tweeted on Tuesday.
Nagarajegowda took part in a three-week long pre-Games training camp at Basildon Sporting Village sponsored by the government. Mahantesh G Kivandasnnavar, founder of the Samarthanam Trust, was also full of praise for Nagarajegowda and hailed his medal-winning performance. "It is a big moment for us and the whole of India and more importantly the community of disability. Whole of the trust and our students are in a jubilant mood and are very proud of him,” he said.
When asked about Nagarajegowda’s routine and preparation prior to the Games in London, Mahantesh said: “Nagarajegowda came to us two years back and was interested in sports so he joined out training and was really very hard-working. His commitment and focus was outstanding and he got what he deserved."