Ex-Paralympian Shoulders Burden He Can't Lift

  • 27 Jun 2019

Two-time Paralympic Games bronze medallist P Mariappan has lifted tremendous weights for the country, but now, he is faced with a burden he finds hard to shoulder. 

The 61-year-old former paralifter has to grapple with broken down lifts and navigating his way through paths which are not friendly to the disabled, just to get to his and from his rented house on the second floor of a flat unit in Taman Beringin in Jinjang, Kuala Lumpur. 

Relating his precidament, Mariappan said that he has to manage his household with the RM2,000 pension given by the National Sports Council, and a RM320 aid given by the Welfare Department. 

The RM8,000 prosthetic leg, which he once used to help him walk, is broken now and he's solely reliant on his wheelchair to get around.

The lifts at the flats also often break down, especially during thunderstorms, he said.

On one occasion, Mariappan recalls having to crawl down the flight of stairs, from his house, to his motorcycle parked on the ground floor, to fetch his children from school, during a thunderstorm.

Whenever he goes through hard times, all Mariappan does is open up the box containing the medals he has won for the country, and look at them while reminiscing the olden days where he felt "appreciated". 

All he hopes for now, is to get a single-storey house from the government, as a recognition for over 30 years of his contribution in the paralifting sports, representing the country. 

This, he says, will tremendously help him and his wife, B Chandriga, who is also wheelchair-bound, get by.

The couple have three children - two daughters and a son, aged between 22 and 14. 
To the uninitiated, Mariapan competed in seven Paralympics - winning two bronze medals in Seoul (1988) and Barcelona (1992). He has also won a host of international titles, bagged more than 70 medals, and was regarded as a national hero during his paralifting days. 

Given his tremendous contribution to the country, a single-storey house - perhaps a low-cost unit, is not too much to ask for, from the government. 

Let's hope the powers that be will notice this paralifting legend's grievances and move to address it. 

Source: Makkal Osai
Photo source: Astro Awani