Deepa Malik still hurt over Khel Ratna snub

The Rio Paralympics silver medallist says she will continue to apply for the honour and at the same time, break a few world records.

Deepa Malik, the Rio Paralympics silver medallist, is keen to perform better to win the award.   -  M. PERIASAMY


Rio Paralympics silver medallist Deepa Malik remains upset over being ignored for Khel Ratna this year and feels exception should have been made by the awards committee, like it had done in 2016.

The Khel Ratna was awarded to two-time Paralympic gold medallist, Devendra Jhajharia, and former India hockey captain Sardar Singh in August.

However, as many as four were awarded the country’s highest sporting honour in the Olympic year — shuttler P.V. Sindhu, gymnast Dipa Karmakar, wrestler Sakshi Malik and shooter Jitu Rai, who flopped in the Rio Olympics but was rewarded for his consistent performances at world events.

“They gave to all four last year. They could have done something similar this time. However, I will continue to apply and they will have to give me sooner than later. Anyway, the rule is that my performance over four years will be taken into consideration,” Malik told PTI on the sidelines of an event organised by the Australian High Commission.

With her event not being there in the Commonwealth Games next year, Malik will have to wait till the Para Asian Games in October 2018 for her next major event.

“Maybe I will break the world record at the Asian Games and then, they will have to give me Khel Ratna,” said Malik, who was honoured with Padma Shri earlier this year and Arjuna Award in 2012.

“However, I still don’t feel negative. Sports has given me a lot. More than I thought it would,” said the para-athlete, who won her silver medal at Rio in shot put.

It has been more than a year but Malik is yet to get some of the cash awards promised to her.

“Madhya Pradesh government has written back to us saying they will honour us during their state awards. But we have not yet heard anything from Delhi Golf Club. The club had announced it but they have not approached us yet,” she added.

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