After the Rio Olympics, another landmark athletic event is scheduled next week, the Paralympics, where our differently abled demonstrate their prowess. Deepa Malik braved through several surgeries of her spine and when doctors gave her little time, she took to sports. She is a champion shot putter and javelin thrower. She has also won medals in discuss and hammer throwing at international meets. Not content with field athletics she has swum against the Yamuna tide. She has earned a place in the Limca Book of Records through her fray into motoring. Ashoka profiles Deepa exclusively for Different Truths.
Now that the participants have returned, Rio is off the radar for most. The government has already put into place a task force to prepare our athletes for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
We have a new set of youth icons and may the likes of P.V. Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Deepa Karmakar continue to inspire our youngsters to start believing in themselves and give in their best. Medals would automatically follow. And we must always remember that an athlete is best remembered for his/her overall records rather than the medals. My generation would recall that one of the all-time great long distance runners – according to many the greatest ever – viz., Ron Clarke never won an Olympic or a Commonwealth gold medal but ended up setting no fewer than 17 world records.
I would also urge our fellow countrymen to sustain their interest for another landmark athletic event that is going to take place next week namely the Paralympics where our differently abled would demonstrate their prowess.
And it is here that we can be assured of a very inspired performance by one of the most inspirational figured I have known for some time which is very likely to fetch us a victory. This lady has thus far always lived upto the expectations and continues to enthral her countrymen in her sui generis demeanour.
Deepa Malik is a name that would not be unfamiliar to most. She makes frequent appearances on the television and motivates everyone with the vast reservoir of positivity that oozes out of her.
To briefly outline her background, she was running a family along with her army man husband Bikram until 1998 when she was diagnosed as a victim of a spinal tumour. She was just 28 at the time and the mother of two lovely little daughters. She was told that she was living on borrowed time.
She managed to muster all the fighting spirit at her command and decided to go in for a major spinal operation. That left her paralysed from wait downwards.
Refusing to surrender, she decided to take up sports and has set numerous landmarks which have inspired so many – not just the differently abled. She is a champion shot putter and javelin thrower. She has also won medals in discuss and hammer throwing at international meets. Not content with field athletics she has swum against the Yamuna tide. She has earned a place in the Limca Book of Records through her fray into motoring. Her Limca records are:
- Longest all India drive Chennai – Delhi (3278 Km) -2013
- Driving Across Nine High Altitude Passes in Nine Days on Leh-Ladakh Highest Motorable Roads. (First Woman in the world in her disability to attempt a journey likes this –2011)
- Riding Special Bike – 2009
And she manages to do all this despite half a dozen spinal operations!
She had very capably raised her two lovely daughters Devika and Ambika. Devika has recently been accepted as a doctoral student in sports psychology with the Loughborough University.
She is one of the most popular motivational speakers and has given talks at different schools and universities. In all the time I have known her, I have never ever observed her without her infectious smile that adorns her pulchritudinous countenance and easy going demeanour which of course disguises determination of steel.
I must make a confession here. I have known Deepa for a few years now and am very fond of her family and herself. It gives me enormous satisfaction that she never fails to telephone me to seek my blessings before embarking on a competitive journey.
She has been selected to represent India in the shot put and leaves for Rio with her husband Bikram on the 30th of August.
I would earnestly request all the Different Truth family to wish this remarkable lady the very best and keep her in thoughts.
My fondest blessings Deepa!
©Ashoka Jahnavi Prasad
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