Asked to Choose Between Paralysis and Death, Deepa Malik Picked Life

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Deepa Malik is an athlete, 47 year old paraplegic (paraplegia – Paralysis that affects all or part of the torso, legs and pelvic organs), paralyzed from the waist down.

She has scripted her name in the history as the first Indian woman to win a silver medal at the 2016 summer Paralympics in the shot put. She has also won gold in F-53/54 Javelin event at the para athletic grand Prix held in Dubai in 2018 and currently holds the number one position in the F -53 category in the world.

A tumor in the spine confined her to a wheelchair almost 17 years ago and has been unable to walk since then. For a budding sportswoman, it was very difficult to accept her condition. She was asked to pick between paralysis and death but against all the odds she chooses her life with a great courage that most of us do not have it in us. It is just unbelievable that she has no control over her bladder and bowel movement and also has no control of her body beneath the chest.

Deepa is married to a veteran cavalier Colonel Bikram Singh and she is the mother of two adult daughters, Devika and Ambika. On behalf of the Sports Ministry, she was nominated by the Planning Commission HRD Division as a member of the working group in the formulation 12th five- year plan (2012–2017) on Sports and Physical Education.

She has won 58 national & 18 International medals across all disciplines till date. And also honoured with many awards including Arjuna award in 2012 and the most prestigious, India’s fourth highest civilian award – Padma Shri in 2017.

Deepa has distinctions in multiple sports that make her a unique athlete, apart from shot put, she has won various medals in swimming at the international arena, discus throw and holds the Asian record in the javelin throw. She is an exceptional inspiration to all of us.

Deepa once said, “It was pretty depressing in the beginning but the love and support of my family made the process easy for me. The acceptance of your disability by your near and dear ones can make a lot of contribution to ones confidence” and further added “It made me look at life from a new window. I learned everything all over again, right from turning into a bed to sit, from having a bath to changing clothes. But the biggest challenge I faced was timing my bladder and water intake.”