“What We Deserve Is What a Regular, Able-Bodied Sports Person Deserves”: An Interview with Paralympic Athlete and Silver Medallist Deepa Malik

15 October 2016
Earlier this year, Deepa Malik became the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympic Games, in Rio.

Deepa Malik is an athlete and adventure sportsperson. Earlier this year, she became the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympics, in Rio. Malik won the silver in the shot put event. In 1999, Malik was paralysed below the chest following an accident, and has since been using a wheelchair. She has previously won various medals, awards and accolades for sports such as swimming, javelin and discus throw, and has set records with her motor sports and swimming feats. In 2012, she received the Arjuna award, a prize given by the sports ministry for outstanding achievements in sports at the national level.

On 26 September 2016, Basit Malik, an intern at The Caravan, interviewed Deepa Malik at her Gurgaon residence, and their conversation later continued over phone and email. They discussed her experience at Rio, how she obtained funding for her sporting career, the discrimination often faced by sportspersons with disabilities, and the lack of sensitisation to the issue in Indian society. The athlete spoke about a recent incident concerning lack of access for wheelchairs at airports, her campaign to get more persons with disabilities opportunities to be able to drive, and how, with her sporting achievements, she aims to challenge the stereotypes surrounding disability.

Basit Malik: What is the one question from the media that you don't like?

Deepa Malik: That how I am feeling after winning the medal.

BM:You don’t like that question?

Basit Malik is an independent journalist based in Delhi.

Keywords: sport athletics Deepa Malik Paralympics Athlete shot put persons with disability