Deepa Malik, an Indian Paralympic champion who has many national and international awards to her credit, recently honoured for her contributions and achievements in the field. She was bestowed the award by the International Paralympic Committee in Bonn Germany on Thursday.
Malik, India’s first female athlete to win a Paralympic medal was among three speakers invited to speak on the occasion.
Exhilarated Malik said, “I am overwhelmed. It is a true validation of the journey I have had. It means a lot, but not just for me alone. I think it is a reflection of India and its women and the growth of the Paralympic Movement that we are trying to create over here. It validates that our efforts have been fruitful.”
Earlier on International Women’s Day, her name was announced for the annual award, which is given to someone who embodies the spirit of the Paralympics and serves as a role model within the Movement for all females, from athletes to technical officials and committee leaders.
The decision to grant Malik the Recognition was made by the IPC’s Women in Sport Committee (WiSC).
Speaking on this occasion, Rita van Driel, Chairperson of the IPC Women in Sport Committee, said: “Apart from being a very successful athlete and first Indian female Paralympic medallist, Deepa has given back to the Movement by working to make changes in her own country.
Her journey-A tale of grit and determination
Every so often, we are bound by our own limitations and these become the borders in which we define ourselves. However, there are some tough persons like Malik who break these barriers and achieve something which is almost impossible for a normal person to even believe upon. Malik and many others like her have done unprecedented work because of their immense strength, dedication, willpower, and hunger to success.
Despite being caged to a wheelchair due to spinal tumour treatment which left her paralysed below the waist, she proved her mettle in the field.
Malik made history for her country by winning silver at the Rio 2016 Paralympics in the women’s shot put F53. Her personal experience toward that medal is what has driven her to passionately promote Para sport in her own country and especially show females with a disability the empowerment of sport.
“This journey of Paralympic sports has empowered me so much. It has given me a reason to stay fit, to achieve a goal, it has given me a reason to make an impact in my country to work with the policies, it has given me the need to do something,” she said.
Outside of the competition field, Malik has been actively involved in improvement accessibility in India. She contributed toward better sports policies for people with impairment in her role as a member of the Working Group for the Formulation of 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2017). She is a consultant for Disability Inclusive Accessible Infrastructure for Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs ‘Smart City’ project.