It has been quite a roll for the Indian athletes in the past few weeks and there is an inspiring story behind every athlete’s success. The new addition to the success clan of Olympics is Deepa Malik, a professional shot-putter who just bagged a silver medal at the Rio Paralympics.
EARLY STAGES OF LIFE:
Born on 30th September, 1970, Deepa Malik was from a Hindu Jat family in Sonipat. Having shown interest in sports since childhood, she got associated with Himalayan Motorsports Association (HMA) and Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI). She has done an 8 day, 1700-km drive in sub-zero temperatures which included a climb to 18000 feet. This journey covers many difficult paths including remote Himalayas, Leh, Shimla and Jammu.
Deepa is the wife of a veteran cavalier Colonel Bikram Singh and daughter of a veteran Infantry Colonel BK Nagpal. She is the mother of two adult daughters, Devika and Ambika. She is currently being supported by the GoSports Foundation through the their Para Champions Programme.
FIGHTING THE ODDS:
Life, as tough as it is, could never dampen Deepa’s spirits through all the hardships it had given her. From getting operated upon when her husband was serving the nation in Kargil and getting 163 stitches between her shoulder blades, she has been a real life inspiration for years now.
Deepa, when she was 26, was once told that her choice was between paralysis and death, because of a tumor in her spinal column. Her resilience and the attitude of never giving up made her face the impossibility of life head-on. She once had seven broken vertebrae and went through frequent MRI scans in the absence of titanium plates and that could not stop her from taking to throwing the javelin in 2006 and it was shot put, the event that has given her Paralympic glory in Rio.
Having had success at the 2010 Para Asian Games, Deepa wanted to make a mark at the 2012 London Paralympics. She didn’t have a quota supposedly and she couldn’t make it. However, that only strengthened her determination and Rio happened. However, the good thing here is that our athletes never cared about the system and the facilities. They just went ahead with their resolve and won at the Olympics, which is a clear embodiment of a winner’s quality, and that is how they stood out.
However, it is important to talk about the treatment of Mariyappan, Deepa and Varun and our sensitivity and affection upon these three super athletes will go a long away to defining us as a ‘people’.
Deepa, in this context, is a true example of grit and determination through with which we could recharge ourselves and stand up to the test of our own conscience. Looking carefully at the performances by Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu and now Thangavelu, Deepa and Bhati, the medals are just around the corner for the 2020 Rio Olympics.
We just have to wait for it!