Deepa Malik: Para-athletes are denied the sport they excel in

Updated: Jul 16, 2019, 08:20 IST | Sundari Iyer

Deepa Malik, 48, who is paralysed chest-down, falls under the F53 classification and the Tokyo Games has discus throw for women in her category

Deepa Malik: Para-athletes are denied the sport they excel in
Para athlete Deepa Malik at IISM's convocation ceremony in BKC yesterday. Pic/Sneha Kharabe

India's star para-athlete Deepa Malik has bemoaned the fact that on most occasions, athletes like her are left with no choice but to drop out of major sporting events. For example, she's won't be at the the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics as her disability category in javelin throw is not part of the Games.

Malik, 48, who is paralysed chest-down, falls under the F53 classification and the Tokyo Games has discus throw for women in her category.

"When I was preparing for the 2012 London Paralympics, my major event was javelin throw. I won a silver in javelin at the 2014 Asian Games but my event changed to shot put in 2016. I learnt shot put, and then I had to learn discus throw in which I won a medal at the 2018 Asian Games. But I had to take a back seat this time and opt out of the Tokyo Games because of a cervical injury I sustained while participating in the discus throw.

This is something para-athletes experience on and off. I feel that our countrymen need to know that. We get denied of a certain sport that we excel in on most occasions. The last Commonwealth Games I participated in was 2010, since my category didn't exist at the 2014 or 2018 events," rued Malik, who was the chief guest at a convocation ceremony of the International Institute of Sports Management (IISM) at Mumbai Cricket Association Recreation Centre, BKC yesterday.

Malik, who has won 23 international medals across various disciplines, is now is utilising her time working for para sports at the grassroots level. "I am able to voice my opinion to further the cause of para sports. As an athlete council head in the Paralympic Committee of India, I enjoy helping budding athletes overcome their problems."

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