Indian paralympian Deepa Malik, who made history in 2016 as the country’s first woman to clinch a medal at the Paralympic Games, has expressed her optimism regarding the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics, as the shot put icon believes India will secure medals in in abundance next year.
Along with the Summer Olympics, the 2020 Paralympics also faced a year long postponement amid the novel Coronavirus pandemic. However, as every cloud has a silver lining, the athletes now have another year long to prepare themselves for the main event.
The 15th Summer Paralympics at Rio was when Deepa Malik earned her place in the history books. With a personal best throw of 4.61m, the shot putter from Haryana clinched silver in the women’s F53 final, making history as the first from her country to earn a medal in the Paralympics.
In double digits: Deepa Malik excited about India’s medal count at Tokyo Paralympics
Speaking with Indian Table Tennis player Mudit Dani on his live session on Instagram titled ‘In The Sportlight’, Deepa Malik opened up about her memories from the 2016 Rio and the 2018 Asian Para Games, the latter in which India won an astounding 72 medals, something that inspires the 49 year old for Tokyo next year.
“At Rio we had doubled the medals, we were a squad of 19. We had two gold, a silver and a bronze,” Malik said in the live session, “In 2018, we were a squad of 194 and won 72 medals. It has already set the benchmark.”
“The sensational thing about Tokyo next year will be India bagging Paralympics medals in double digits,” she added.
Deepa Malik has won four medals in the Asian Para Games, with her first one at the inaugural edition in 2010 in Guangzhou, China, where she earned a bronze at Women’s Javelin throw F33 event. In the following year, she bagged a silver at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, in the women’s shot put F52/53 event.
Asked about her inspiration, Malik credited the Indian Army, specifically after seeing the injured soldiers of the Kargil war in 1999, when she was about to undergo an operation in a hospital.
“The hospital to which I was taken for my surgery was full of war casualties. I think that immediately became my inspiration,” the 49 year old recalled.
“If these healthy young men were losing a limb in their line of duty, then I have no reason to crib just because I have a disease,” she acknowledged.