Silver medallist at the Rio Paralympics, Deepa Malik, revealed that shot put and javelin in her disability category were not a part of the next Paralympics, slated to be hosted by Tokyo from August 25, 2020. The para-athlete now has backed out of the next Games, citing that she is suffering from an injury, but in future is considering taking up swimming.
Malik, who had won a silver in shot put in 2016 Paralympics, said, “Taking about the next tournaments, it is very unfortunate that in 2020 (Paralympics) and the forthcoming World Championships, my events, shot put and javelin in 53 category, are not there. The only event being offered in my disability category is discus,” Outlook India reported.
The notable Indian sports star Deepa is the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympic Games.
Talking about why she thinks swimming would be a great choice, Malik said she tried practising discus, but injury to her spinal cord has prevented her from going ahead. “I did my best to learn discus, which has not been my major sport. I won a bronze at the Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta (in discus) in my run up to prepare for 2020 (Paralympics).
But, unfortunately the side jerk with discus is causing injury in my cervical region. My spinal cord injury is very high. So the moment and jerk of discus is not suiting my body. So, I had to take a step down, because of the repetitive injuries,” explained 48-year-old Malik.
READ OUR INTERVIEW: Don’t Wait For The Change, Be The Change: Deepa Malik
“However, I do not want to stop my fitness and training. And I am thinking of doing swimming this year, back to my roots. Swimming not at the (level) of Paralympics as such, but at the national level. So that I continue to train and touch base with my swimming background,” she claimed.
“This year I want to make a personal record in sea swimming (but) not in a competitive way and (add) another milestone in my life. It is just that the sea is left and I want to touch the sea waters,” she added.
Malik also spoke up about having more inclusive infrastructure for para-athletes in the country. “We need more coaches, physiotherapists, trained ones to handle various disabilities and above all we need Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR wing of various companies) to come forward and adapt para-sports, because it is main-stream sport, at par with Olympics,” she said signing off.
First Indian woman to make a mark in the Paralympics
The 45-year-old Malik made headlines after she bagged the silver medal in the shot put F-53 event for India at Rio Paralympics in 2016. Malik is India’s oldest athlete to ever win a medal at the Paralympics. She is also the first female athlete to represent India at the Paralympics, since the country’s debut at the Games in 1968. The stellar performer also clinched the gold in the F53/54 Javelin event at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix in Dubai last year.
“Winners don’t do things differently, they do different things and being a differently-abled person, everything I did was different,” the Paralympian said in an exclusive interview with SheThePeople.TV.
Malik, who is paralysed from the waist down, has risen above adversities numerous times. The Paralympian was honoured with the Arjuna award in 2012. She has also been conferred the prestigious Padma Shri award in 2017 for her achievements.
Feature Image Credit: NDTV