Born on September 30, 1970, Deepa Malik is the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympic Games. Not only this, Malik won a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in shot put. Malik, an inspiration to people across the world, turned the darkest phase of her life into her brightest.
In 1999, Malik had to undergo surgery to remove a tumour in her spinal cord. Warned that she would be paralysed below the chest if she survived after the life-threatening surgery, Malik decided to go ahead with the procedure.
While she was fortunate to survive, she was confined to a wheelchair and her whole life changed. Malik refused to let this life-altering event come in the way of her dreams and she decided to start her sports career when she was 36-years-old.
After that one decision, Malik continued to soar. From winning a medal at the Paralympics to mentoring sportsmen and inspiring people, Malik has never looked back. As the country celebrates the extraordinary sportswoman, here are 7 interesting facts about her –
- She is the first Indian woman to represent India at the Paralympic Games
- Malik is married to veteran cavalier Colonel Bikram Singh and has two daughters – Devika and Ambika
- She had to undergo 31 surgeries for the removal of her tumour and 183 stitches were administered to her
- She is the first physically challenged person in India who has an official rally license issued by the Federation Motor Sports Club of India (FMSCI)
- She covered 1,700 kilometres in eight days in sub-zero temperatures, sustaining herself in extreme climates with oxygen shortage at an altitude of 18,000 on a bike
- She has four LIMCA World Records to her name
- She is the oldest person conferred with the prestigious Arjuna award