The most important thing that every human being needs to develop within them is the determination to succeed. And, this quality fetched Deepa Malik a silver medal in the women’s shot put F-53 event at the Rio Paralympics 2016. To script her own success story, the 45-year-old Deepa had to overcome many obstacles. She not only became the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympic Games but has also become a symbol of inspiration.
Deepa Malik is the wife of Army officer Colonel Bikram Singh. 17 years back, she was diagnosed with a tumour in her spinal cord. Doctors advised her to get it operated. At that time, Deepa’s husband was protecting India at Kargil. Soon, she underwent a life-saving surgery. Although the surgery saved her life, it, however, turned her paraplegic. Doctors opined that she would never get back the senses below her waist. Since the age of 8, Deepa started suffering from paralytic shocks. All through her life, she went through many surgeries because of seven broken vertebrae, surgical implants and the spinal cord tumour. Nothing seemed to have gone the right way for Deepa Malik. She chose to take up sports so that depression doesn’t grip her. Deepa started with swimming and motorsports, javelin and shot put activities.
The support from the family members
Deepa Malik considers her 2 daughters, her husband and other family members to be her support. Her husband even quit his Indian Army job to accompany her in the competitions.
While speaking to the Disability News and Information Service, the Rio Paralympics 2016 silver medalist Deepa once said, “It was pretty depressing in the beginning but the love and support of my family made the process easy for me. The acceptance of your disability by your near and dear ones can make a lot of contribution to ones confidence. It made me look at life from a new window. I learned everything all over again, right from turning into a bed to sit, from having a bath to changing clothes. But the biggest challenge I faced was timing my bladder and water intake.”
Several achievements of Deepa Malik
Deepa Malik has made India proud on many occasions. The shot put throw which fetched her the silver medal at the Rio Paralympics 2016 is her personal best of 4.61 m. She holds the Asian record in javelin throw. In 2011, she also won silver medals at the World Championships in shot put and discus. Deepa has also earned herself many medals in swimming. She took up swimming mainly to strengthen her arms and shoulders to fulfill her childhood wish of biking.
The 45-year-old lady is also an avid biker now. She entered the Limca Book of Records 4 times for his swimming and biking feats which are listed below:
- In 2008, she swam a 1 km stretch of the Yamuna river against the current. This was her first feat which saw her entry in the Limca Book of Records.
- In 2009, she rode a special bike for 58 kms.
- In 2011, she achieved the feat of becoming the first paraplegic woman to drive to the Khardung La pass. Khardung La is the highest motorable pass in the world.
- In 2013, she completed the longest drive in India from Chennai to Delhi covering 3,278 kms.
The Indian Government honoured Deepa Malik for her contribution in the field of sports with the prestigious Arjuna award in the year 2012.
Success at the Rio Paralympics 2016
The Rio Paralympics 2016 success of Deepa Malik would surely serve as a big inspiration to many of us. The silver medal which she won is something more than just a medal; it is a symbol of determination. Often we tend to blame the challenges and obstacles for our failures. Deepa has proved that no challenge is big enough to overcome.
The disability has made Deepa a stronger woman. She feels every adversity of life makes a person gain strength and she is not an exception. The spinal cord tumour and the subsequent surgeries that followed forced her to reconsider her life’s goals. They were some unfortunate incidents but she didn’t bow down to the challenges. Rather she took them as a chance to explore a new person within herself!
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