Silver medallist at the Rio Paralympics, Deepa Malik announced her retirement on Monday, following the National Sports Code guidelines. As per the National Sports Code, an active athlete cannot hold an official post in any federation. The fierce para-athlete announced her retirement from active sports to hold her post as the President of the Paralympic Committee of India.

Malik is now focused on promoting upcoming and aspirant para-athletes in the country.

Announcing the news to her fans Deepa Malik wrote on Twitter, ” To be an office bearer at PCI had left active sports as that is the national sports code.. people waited for some declaration but one felt it’s obvious. today initiated paper work for my Paralympics Medal Pension which was pending at my end. Will continue to serve #parasports”.

Key Takeaways:

  • Para-athlete Deepa Malik announced her retirement to hold her post as the President of the Paralympic Committee of India.
  • Malik said that she will be focusing more on promoting the budding para-athletes in the country now.
  • As per the National Sports Code, an active athlete cannot hold an official post in any federation.
  • She has also mentioned that she might make a comeback during the 2022 Asian Games.

Earlier today, she had said, “To avoid the conflict of interest, and with a heavy heart, I have to take the decision of retirement. If I have to apply for the affiliation of the government, I have to follow the government rules. I want to focus on my duties as the President of the PCI.”

She added, “I do not know if the sportsperson in me will ever go away. For now, I have to retire. If I have to pursue the post in PCI, then I have to follow the law.”

READ: Look Beyond Cricket, Our Sportswomen Are Winning Golds!

“I have to go by the rules that exist in India. However, if the call of forces come into play, then I might re-think my decision around 2022 Asian Games,” Malik, who had won a silver in shot put in 2016 Paralympics, told ANI.

Last year, she revealed that shot put and javelin in her disability category were not a part of the next Paralympics. She backed out of the next Games, citing that she is suffering from an injury, but in the future she is considering taking up swimming.

The notable Indian sports star Deepa is the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympic Games.

The 49-year-old also said, “I am making this decision with a heavy heart, but I have to take this call for the betterment, I am proud that I have chosen to give back to the sport, if you want the government affiliation, then you have to follow the rules and guidelines.”

“I have had a sports journey of 15 years. It is time for me to now look beyond my own medals and try to shape up young talent,” she concluded.

Deepa Malik was awarded Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna last year and became the first Indian woman para-athlete to be conferred with the accolade.

READ OUR INTERVIEW: Don’t Wait For The Change, Be The Change: Deepa Malik

Malik wants to take up swimming next

Having a basic training in swimming, Malik has won 58 national and 23 international medals so far. She is also a recipient of the Padma Shri and Arjuna Award.

Talking about why she thinks swimming would be a great choice, Malik had earlier said she tried practising discus, but an 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),” Outlook India reported.

“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.

“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.

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 in 2018.

“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.

READ: A Biker, Swimmer and now a Silver Medalist at Rio Paralympics: This is Deepa Malik’s story

Feature Image Credit: Hindustan Times

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