Not a gymnast Dipa and neither wrestler Malik, it is one and only Deepa Malik who drew Indian Women Paralympics on the map by winning her maiden medal. Lot of accolades to her name as Deepa Malik became the first woman Paralympic medalist for India by winning silver medal in the shot put F-53 event with 4.61m mark. This wheelchair-bound athlete stood to the occasion by making it really big.
Though there shouldn’t be any comparisons drawn among sportspersons, for each one of these have had their own struggles; Unlike Summer Olympics where much able and India’s largest contingent wasn’t able to make the medal tally beyond two listings, and Deepa Malik’s effort earned India three medals (all colors) with five days still remaining in the event. The gold medal of her event, F-53, went to Bahrain’s Fatema Nedham with a throw of 4.76m and the Bronze went to Greece’s Dimitra Korokida who threw the shot put at 4.28m.
This journey to the Olympic podium hasn’t been easy for a differently able athlete; Deepa was paralyzed from waist down after a spinal tumor in 1999 which made walking impossible. Despite this condition she continued with her love for bikes and rode the quad bike across nine high-altitude and so became the first women with different ability to do so. She also drove 3,278km from Chennai to Delhi for Paraplegic women.
An Arjuna Awardee, 17 international medals, 58 national gold medals, Asian record in Javelin throw, world championship silver medal in shot put and discus throw, Deepa Malik is certainly still going strong. This 45 year old lady, who is much more than a legend in a true sense, has a lot to give to the country and she has already encouraged ability beyond disability.