Rio Paralympics silver medallist, Deepa Malik, said that it is a “really big deal” to receive respect from Haryana.
The 45-year-old scripted history by bagging the silver medal in women’s F53 shot put event in the Rio Paralympics, throwing a personal best distance of 4.61 metres.
Malik, who returned home to a rousing reception is overwhelmed with the love she received from her native place in the north Indian state of Haryana with the entire Khap coming to receive her.
“They say women are not encouraged to take up sports in Haryana. I don’t know about that. When I came back from Rio, 200 people from my village, the entire Khap came to receive me. They gifted me a gada (mace) for making the village proud,” Malik said at NDTV’s Youth For Change Conclave on Saturday evening.
“The honour is usually reserved for men. For them to give it to me, a disabled woman, is a really big deal,” she added.
A mother of two and wife of an Army officer, Malik, who was conferred with the Arjuna Award, is a paraplegic - paralysed from the waist down.
A spinal tumour left her paralysed waist-below in 1999. The tumour had to be operated and 31 surgeries were conducted on her which got healed after 183 stitches between her waist and legs. After six years of being in the wheelchair, she turned to para-sports.
(With inputs from IANS)