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Deepa Malik wins silver, creates history at Paralympics

A spinal tumour brought Deepa Malik’s life to a standstill, making it impossible for her to walk 17 years ago. Fast-forward to Monday, September 12, 2016, and she created history by becoming the first Indian female athlete to win a medal at the Paralympics. Her throw of 4.61m in the shotput F-53 event at the 2016 Rio Paralympics saw her bag the silver medal, taking India’s medal tally to three.  

We take a look at her several other achievements and what makes her a truly gifted person. 


1. Deepa Malik was detected with a tumour in her spinal cord at the age of six. Her recovery took three years.

2. An Army brat, she once spotted a young officer with a state-of-the-art Japanese bike. When he asked Deepa what she knew about bikes, she promptly replied, “Hand me the keys, and I’ll show you how it’s done.” That officer is now her husband and the father of her two daughters.

3. While her husband was in Kargil in 1999, her tumor relapsed and following her surgery, she was in coma for 25 days. 

4. Before her third surgery, she was told that she would be wheelchair bound for the rest of her life and was given seven days to celebrate walking.

5. She is the first person ever to receive a license for invalid (modified) rally vehicle, a case she consistently pursued for 19 months in Maharashtra. 

6. She is the first physically challenged person in India to receive an official rally license from Federation Motor Sports Club of India (FMSCI) and become a navigator and driver in the toughest car rallies of the country.

7. She holds four LIMCA World Records, including one for swimming against the current in river Yamuna for one kilometre in 2008.

8. She donned the hat of an entrepreneur when she started a take-out catering service in the army quarters that eventually turned into a popular garden restaurant, feeding over 250 people everyday.

9. She was the oldest ever recipient of precedence Arjuna award in 2012 , at the age of 42 years.

10. She has almost 200 stitches between her shoulder blades and experiences no sensation below her chest. However, that hasn't stopped her from competing in numerous car and bike rallies.

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