Deepa Malik, the first Indian woman to clinch a Paralympic medal, said her F-53 shot put silver was a result of her “daring to dream”.
Deepa’s best throw of 4.61m from her six attempts gave her the second spot.
“I dared to dream and I had the determination to work hard and the passion and perseverance to follow that dream. Women often lose that and I have ensured that my family is not neglected, my children are doing well too,” Deepa said.
“I am very happy to win this medal and I am so glad that I could do this for my country. I really want to thank my coaches and my trainers, Sports Authority of India, and the Sports Ministry for funding my training.
“I also want to thank my husband for being my skill trainer and my daughters for being my strength and motivation. I am so eager to come back to India,” she said.
Deepa had won National and international medals in swimming, before switching to athletics in 2009.
“I was the first biker, first swimmer, first rallyist (rally driver) and I am the first Paralympian medallist. This is huge. I dedicate it to my daughters, my husband, my trainer, my country. I am so excited,” she said.
Deepa hoped that her achievements would inspire others to beat adversity.
“I remember when I first had the tumour all those years back, people thought I would be restricted to my house throughout my life with others looking after my daily needs,” she added.“This is very significant. I hope my journey and the medal can serve as an inspiration for differently-abled people to break out from their social boundaries and pursue their dreams,” she said.
Deepa said she always wanted to be independent despite her disability.
“…I wanted to break out from that mould and took to swimming, motorsports and eventually javelin and shot put. My goal was to become independent despite my disability and due to sport and the support of my family, I am very much an independent individual,” she said.