Deepa Malik opts out of Tokyo 2020 Paralympics

The 48-year-old, who suffers from chest-down paralysis, falls under F53 classification and the Tokyo Paralympics has zeroed in on discus throw for women in the said classification.

Para-athlete Deepa Malik at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Monday.   -  Sushil Kumar Verma

 

Para-athlete Deepa Malik, who joined the BJP on Monday, will continue to participate in national and international events in shot put and javelin throw, but she will not compete in Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Malik became the first Indian woman to win a Paralympics medal when she clinched a silver in shot put at the Rio Games in 2016.

The 48-year-old, who suffers from chest-down paralysis, falls under F53 classification and the Tokyo Paralympics has zeroed in on discus throw for women in the said classification.

Malik learnt the new sport and even won an Asian Games bronze last year, but practicing for discus throw hasn’t been easy. It is causing her neck injuries and the para-athlete has decided not to pursue it. “Even during the Asian Games, I performed with injury. I have time and again deliberated if I will be able to do it or not. Considering the injuries, I don't think I will be able to pursue discus, but I will continue to practice my favourite sports which is javelin and shot put. As and when nationals are held, I will be going,” she said.

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Malik was also not included in the recently released TOPS list which funds Olympic hopefuls’ training programme.

“I have not been asked to stop playing or participate in sports event. I continue to train the way I do and as and when the duties and roles emerge for me, I will decide accordingly,” she added.

The Paralympian, in fact, has a new target. “I want to raise my bar in swimming. I really want to do sea swimming in the years to come, when my body is ready to do that. This summer I will be pursuing swimming excessively as my training regime. I have crossed a river, now I want to test the waters of the sea. Considering my body, I will have to look for seawater which are warm waters. I will be choosing a sea which is suitable for a chest-below paralysed woman,” she said.

She insisted that she will continue to contribute to sports even after joining politics. “It is not taking me away from sports. It is just giving me a platform to create more awareness about sports. Today, when people will think about or hear about me joining, even those who don't know about para-sports will find out. That will create awareness.

“My idea is to get the country to follow a healthy regime, a positive thought process and to be able to give back to society and contribute in a constructive way,” she said.