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New Delhi, August 10, 2020
Deepa Malik, India’s first woman Paralympic medalist has exuded confidence about the country winning medals in double digits at the Tokyo Paralympics next year.
“At Rio we had doubled the medals, we were a squad of 19. We had two gold, a silver and a bronze. In 2018 (Asian Para Games), 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,” Malik said on paddler Mudit Dani’s live online chat show, 'In The Sportlight’.
Having been elected as the President of the Paralympic Committee of India (IPC) , the Rio Paralympics silver medalist has been working towards incorporating more sports science specialists for better results and educating the athletes on it.
She believes that as Para sports have taken rapid strides in the country in last few years, it will only lead to a medal boom.
The 49-year-old Malik, who also has a silver medal from the IPC World Championships, has never let her disability come in the way of her passion.
In 1999 when she was told that a surgery for removing a spinal tumor could lead to paralysis below the chest, the injured soldiers of the Kargil War and their hardships inspired her to come through her life’s biggest crisis.
“The hospital to which I was taken for my surgery was full of war casualties. I think that immediately became my inspiration. 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 told paddler Mudit Dani’s live online chat show, 'In The Sportlight’.
Talking about her inclusion in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), Malik described how it benefited her and helped her hire different experts, and the efforts reaped rich dividends at Rio. While she got the silver for a distance of 4.61m in shot put, Tokyo did not give her the same scope with there being no javelin or shot put, which spurred her decision to take on an administrative role.