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  • Aditi Himatsinghani

Deepa Malik: The First Indian Female Paralympian Medalist

“Disability brought my life into focus” was once said in an interview by Deepa Malik who currently holds numerous achievements and titles in various sports along with the title of being ‘The first Indian woman to win a medal in the paralympic games.

Deepa Malik at the young age of 5, was diagnosed with a spine tumor. After 3 years of treatments and aggressive physiotherapy, she recovered and continued her life as a healthy child participating in every game in her school. However, at the age of 29, her spine tumor returned and she had to get operated. After 3 surgeries and 183 stitches, the tumor was eliminated from her body but she was left paralyzed from the waist down, and went through several more years of physiotherapy.

Deepa started her journey in sports in 2006 when a member of the sports authority of the country once watched her swimming as a part of her daily training exercise. She was invited by the Maharashtra government to represent the country in the FESPIC Games held in Kuala Lumpur in 2006. Deepa won the Silver medal in S5 Backstroke Swimming that year. She later made a switch to athletics as the cold water of swimming pools caused a lot of muscle spasms in her body. She shifted to Haryana to restart her career as an athlete . The first sport she went on to play was shot put. She later made it to the Olympics and became the first Indian woman to bag a silver medal in shot put in the 2016 Summer Paralympics. From there on she has won countless medals in shot put, javelin, swimming and bike racing. Deepa has been awarded 18 international and more than 54 national medals in various sporting events.

Born in an army family and married to an army officer, Deepa has shown daring courage in all aspects of her life and faced many difficulties. Being a paralympic athlete, an entrepreneur, a motivational speaker, and a prominent disability activist she has broken many barriers and set an example for all.

As this month we celebrate the countless accomplishments of our country, this specific one shows her story of grit and determination and above all the story of the triumph of ability over disability.


Deepa Malik in the 2016 Rio Paralympics


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