Silver medalist at the Rio Paralympics
Deepa Malik is living proof that no matter what the odds, determined courage and persistence can make one a true winner. She recently made 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 Rio makes her India’s first female athlete to ever win a medal at the Paralympics, as well as the oldest to do so.
Deepa was six when she was diagnosed with a tumour in the upper spinal column — the first of many to come. As the tumours reappeared and were operated on, seven of her vertebral discs degenerated. In 1999, post-surgical trauma left her paralysed from waist down. Deepa refused to allow her condition to keep her indoors. She took to sports at the age of 36, a point at which most accomplished athletes seek retirement from their respective disciplines and then went on to set the benchmark across various sports in the paraplegic category. She received the Arjuna award in 2012, the highest honour for a sportsperson in the country for her achievements. Braving multiple surgeries and setbacks over the last 14 years Deepa is now the first paraplegic Indian woman biker, swimmer, rally driver, and entrepreneur, inspiring everyone she encounters with her extraordinary story.
She speaks on living life to the fullest, on never giving up even when faced with the most adverse conditions and on the importance of a positive attitude and faith in oneself when met with disappointment. Her accomplishments show how one can achieve the extraordinary through small, yet determined steps in the right direction.