India's Deepa Malik today created history by becoming the first-ever woman from the country to win a medal at the Paralympics when she bagged a silver in the shotput F-53 event here.
Deepa's best throw of 4.61m from her six attempts was enough to clinch the silver medal. India, thus, now have secured three medal from the Rio Paralympics. Deepa will receive a cash award of Rs 4 crore under Haryana Sports Scheme for her feat.
Bahrain's Fatema Nedham won the gold medal with a best throw of 4.76m, while Dimitra Korokida of Greece bagged the bronze medal with a throw of 4.28m.
Deepa is a paraplegic, paralysed from waist down and mother of two and wife of an Army officer. Life took a twist when a spinal tumour made walking impossible for her 17 years ago. The spinal tumour had to be operated and 31 surgeries were conducted on Deepa which was healed after 183 stitches between her waist and legs. Besides shotput, Deepa has participated in javelin throw, swimming and has also been a motivational speaker. She has also won medals in swimming at international competitions. She holds the Asian record in javelin throw, and also has World Championships silver medals in shot put and discus in 2011.
Deepa's silver is India's third medal of the Games after Mariyappan Thangavelu and Varun Singh Bhati won gold and bronze respectively in men's high jump.
A lionheart who battled multiple surgeries through her childhood until she was given “seven days to celebrate her last days of walking” when she was in her early thirties. Deepa Malik(45) utilised those days to create an accessible haven around her, and get a headstart on her physical training to power through her impending paralysis. The result: she is now a Paralympian battling it out in Rio as you read this, at the third Olympics she has competed at in her lifetime. She walks in with 58 State and national-level honours, 17 international awards and two shattered Asian world records for javelin, already. She has also been the recipient of an Arjuna award, and holds the Limca record for driving eight consecutive days across the high Himalayas at 18,000ft, braving physical limitations.