Padma Shri Awardee; Athlete (Paraplegic); Rio Paralympic Games Silver Medalist; Arjuna Award Winner
When we talk about battling all odds and emerging a winner, Deepa Malik stands as a living testament. She proved that no matter how strong the opposition, sheer courage and will power can make one a true winner. And with that attitude, she recently scripted history by winning the silver medal in the women’s shotput F53 event at the Rio Paralympics, with a personal best throw of 4.61m! This win at the Rio makes her India’s first woman and oldest athlete to ever win a medal at the Paralympics. Deepa is also the President’s role model and NITI Aayog award for women transforming India.
Having been diagnosed with a spinal tumour, she was left paralysed from chest down during a procedure to remove the same. Instead of letting it come in her way for making a mark for herself, the unfortunate event only contributed to spurring her on to do something that beats the prejudices the society holds for women or the specially-abled. She took to sports at the age of 36, a point where most accomplished athletes seek retirement from their respective disciplines and went on to set the benchmark across various sports in the paraplegic arena. She was awarded the Arjuna award, the highest honour for a sportsperson in the country in 2012 for her achievements. From braving three surgeries over the past 15 years to being the first paraplegic Indian woman biker, swimmer, rally driver, entrepreneur and a motivational speaker; this all-rounder has proved her to be a winner in every right!