Deepa Malik's Rio Paralympic Games Campaign Started With a Hiccup

Deepa Malik in action in the women’s final shot put – F53 event at the Rio Paralympics.

© AP

Deepa Malik, who on Monday became the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympic Games in Rio, did not have a smooth flight to Brazil. The shot-putter lost her kits during the long journey to Brazil, courtesy Dutch airlines, KLM.

Sportspersons losing their equipment in transit is not unheard of. Shooters often have their rifles or pistols confiscated or misplaced. Indian cricket coach Anil Kumble too lost his bags when the team was travelling to the West Indies early July.

But KLM failed to take special care of an Olympic-bound athlete who was differently abled and paid an additional Rs 15,000 for extra baggage that included her competition equipment.

Deepa Malik, however, did not let this hiccup affect her campaign in the Paralympic Games in Rio. She won a historic silver in the shot put event, taking India’s medal count to three, one more than what the able-bodied athletes won in the Summer Games.

Deepa Malik, a mother of two, is a paraplegic, paralysed from waist down. The 45-year-old is the wife of an Army officer. Life took a horrifying twist 17 years ago when a spinal tumour and repeated surgeries made her unable to walk.

A motivational speaker and an Arjuna Awardee, Deepa Malik has won international medals in javelin and discuss as well.

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