New Delhi: Taking the country's medal tally to three at 2016 Paralympics in Rio, India's Deepa Malik has scripted her own piece of history yesterday by becoming the first ever Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympic Games, after clinching silver in Shot Put F53 with a throw of 4.61m.
Expressing her delight on achieving the terrific feat, the 45-year old Para-Athlete said, "This is very significant. I hope my journey and the medal can serve as an inspiration for differently-abled individuals to break out from their social boundaries and pursue their dreams".
Reminiscing on her journey so far, the silver medallist spoke about the struggles she had to face "I remember when I first had the tumour all those years back, people thought I would be restricted to my house throughout my life with servants looking after my daily needs. But I wanted to break out from that mould and took to swimming, motorsports and eventually javelin and shot put,” she said.
“My goal was to become independent despite my disability and today due to sport and the support of my family, I very much am an independent individual," she added.
Although Deepa's Paralympic performance will always be the pinnacle of her sporting career, she's no stranger to winning awards and accolades for her country. In 2012 she was the oldest recipient to be honoured with the Arjuna Award at the age of 42.
And she clinched a Para Asian Games medal in 2014 in Incheon. In the run up to the games at Rio, she also won a gold medal in Javelin Throw at the IPC Oceania Asian Championships in Doha and a Silver medal in Shotput at the same event.
A multi-talented sportsperson, Deepa's interest in sports does not end with Javelin Throw and Shot Put. Deepa is also an avid motorsports enthusiast. In fact, she's the first differently abled individual in the country to receive an official license from Federation Motor Sports Club of India (FMSCI). Moreover, she even took part in one of the toughest car rallies in the country, the Raid-de-Himalaya in 2009 and Desert Storm in 2010 as a navigator and a driver.