Achieving Glory Despite Odds: Meet these Seven Women Paralympians

Deepa Malik wins silver in shotput at Paralympics

We have all heard some great stories of women at the Olympics but today let’s know more about these women who did not let their disabilities define them. These seven Paralympians, achieved the top positions despite the odds.

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

Deepa Malik

"Deepa Malik wins silver in shotput at Paralympics, creates historyDeepa Malik is the first female athlete to represent India at the Paralympics since the country’s debut at the Games in 1968. She became India’s first woman and oldest athlete to ever win a medal at the Paralympics. Deepa scripted history by clinching a silver medal in the shot put F-53 event for India at 2016 Rio Paralympics. She has also won gold in F-53/54 Javelin event at the para athletic grand Prix held in Dubai.

Paralysed from the chest down 45-year-old Malik was diagnosed with a spinal tumour which made walking impossible for her. This was 17 years ago. Despite being in a wheelchair, she is an entrepreneur, a former beauty queen, an accomplished swimmer on the international platform and an adventure sports player. A 2012 Arjuna Awardee Deepa also is the Asian record holder in the javelin throw and has World Championships silver medals in shot put and discus in 2011. Today she holds total 54 national gold medals and 13 international medals.

Sarah Storey


Storey is among the most successful of the British female Paralympians. She won gold in the C5 3000m individual pursuit final and with that she now has 23 Paralympic medals, 12 of them gold. Besides cycling, the 38-year-old also pursues swimming.  Born without a functioning left hand, the athlete this year became Great Britain’s most decorated female Paralympian by creating a record. She has been a finalist for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award.

Natalie du Toit

- Women Paralympian You Should Know Of - Natalie du Toit

Natalie du Toit (Picture Credit: abilitymagazine.com)

One of South Africa’s most inspiring athletes, Natalie du Toit took part in 13 Paralympic swimming events between 2004 and 2012. She picked a gold in all 13. Also a Commonwealth Games gold-medalist swimmer, Natalie created history in 2008 by becoming the first amputee to qualify for the Summer Olympic Games. Her swimming skills are legendary. She also has 12 World Championship golds to her name.

Also Read: Let’s celebrate 173 medals from the Special Olympics

Esther Vergeer

- Women Paralympian You Should Know Of - Esther Vergeer

Esther Vergeer (Picture Credit: hittingtherightareas.wordpress.com)

She is the invincible woman on a wheelchair. A tennis player, Esther Vergeer in her 10 years of playing career has remained unbeatable in her sport. The Dutch player retired on February, 2013 with 8 Paralympic medals to her name. Her Foundation has helped spread awareness for para-sport worldwide.

Throughout her journey, she picked 148 singles and 136 doubles titles. For 7 times Esther won gold at the Paralympic Games. With 42 Grand Slam titles to her credit she was ranked no 1 for 13 consecutive times during her tennis career. The ace launched her biography ‘Fierce and Vulnerable’ at the US Open in New York in 2014.

Chantal Petitclerc

 - Women Paralympian You Should Know Of - Chantal Petitclerc

Chantal Petitclerc (Picture Credit: www.cbc.ca)

She is a wheelchair racer who knows her speed.  Canada’s Petitclerc is one of the greatest wheelchair racers of all-time. She has got 14 golds, 5 silvers and 2 bronze medals to her which also include a smashing 5 back-to-back golds in both 2004 and 2008 Paralympic games at the age of 34 and 38 respectively.

She was 13 when in a tragic incident she lost the use of both of her legs. At the age of 18, she was introduced to wheelchair sports by trainer Pierre Pomerleau. After her retirement, she coached the British athletics team prior to London 2012 and was named the Chef de Mission for Canada’s 2014 Commonwealth team.

Trischa Zorn

 - Women Paralympian You Should Know Of - Trischa Zorn

Trischa Zorn (Picture Credit: blindnessenglish18ig.weebly.com)

Born without sight Trischa Zorn competed in Paralympic swimming (S12, SB12 and SM12 disability categories) between 1980 and 2004. She has clinched 46 Paralympic medals, of which 32 were gold in her entire career. The American player is known as the most successful athlete ever in the history of the Paralympic Games, who had taken 55 medals home. Trischa inducted into the Paralympic Hall of Fame in 2012.

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Yu Chui Yee

Yu Chui Yee

Yu Chui Yee (Picture Credit: www.cnn.com)

Popularly known as “Seven-gold princess” in Hong Kong, Yu Chui Yee is on the wheelchair since she was 11. She lost her left leg to bone cancer. Later she became a wheelchair fencer and lifted her double-gold performance at London 2012. She has won a medal each of the nine times she has competed in Paralympic competitions, seven of them gold. She then clinched her first victory in nearly two years when taking gold at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Warsaw, Poland. This year her hunger for more medal success at Rio 2016, her fourth Paralympic Games continues.

Feature Image Credit: motivateme.in

Read More Stories By Ria Das