- Deepa Malik has time and again proven that physical limitations cannot deter a strong mind. In 1999, was diagnosed with a spinal tumor. Even after undergoing three surgeries, she was still left paralyzed from the waist down.
- Even after going through so much physical trauma, she successfully managed a catering business for seven years. At the age of 36, she finally decided to pursue a career in sports.
- Once she started, Deepa was truly unstoppable. She has won 58 national & 18 International medals till now. However, these have come in various disciples.
- As a matter of fact, she is the first Indian woman to win a Paralympics medal. Moreover, she is an avid biker and brilliant swimmer.
- Deepa also holds the distinction of being the first physically challenged person to get a Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India license.
- It isn’t surprising that, this multitalented personality has featured in the Limca Book of Records.
Every so often, we are bound by our own limitations. These become the borders in which we define ourselves. However, there are some tough souls who break these barriers and grow beyond their limitations. They do so with immense strength, dedication, and willpower.
Today we will glimpse into the life of one such strong individual. Her life story will inspire you to finally take that leap of faith and chase your dreams.
Deepa Malik – Life Story
Most 40-year olds are busy planning their retirements or slaying it in their careers. Would you ever except a mother of two adults to take her first steps into a career in sports at that age? We probably would.
We are accustomed to the conventional way of thinking, aren’t we? She isn’t. Deepa Malik shed her inhibitions, shattered social taboos, and stood for herself in the most unique way possible. She may not be able to literally stand, but today she has stood for all those are physically disabled, as well as those who are stuck in the limitations of their minds.
- Date of Birth: 30 September 1970
- Place of Birth: Bhiwani, Haryana, India
- Parents: Colonel BK Nagpal
- Spouse: Colonel Bikram Singh
- Children: Devika and Ambika
Deepa Malik – Family
She is the daughter of veteran Infantry Colonel BK Nagpal. Born and brought up in Sonipat, she is very proud of her army background. She married an army man as well. Her husband veteran caveliar Colonel Bikram Singh has certainly stood by her through everything like a solid rock. Deepa is currently working as an Assistant Athletic Coach at Gurgaon. The couple is blessed with two daughters – Devika and Ambika.
Deepa Malik – Disability
Deepa’s life took an unexpected turn in the year 1999. She was diagnosed with a spinal tumor. Even after undergoing three surgeries that resulted in almost 200 stitches, she was still left paralyzed below the waist. Since then Deepa is bound to a wheelchair, but the disability couldn’t cage her free spirit.
The phase was all the more difficult for the Malik family as Deepa’s husband was in Kargil then. Both husband-wife fought different wars and survived. Before the surgery, Deepa spoke to her husband. She told him that she will never be able to walk again. Her husband assured her that he will carry her in his arms all her life! This undying love and support from her husband as well as her family have given Deepa the strength to wade through all of life’s difficulties.
Deepa Malik Biography
Deepa successfully handled a catering business for seven years. As a matter of fact, she became more liberated after the tragic turn of events. She was chiefly awarded the Swawlamban Award by the Maharashtra government for her independence. At the age of 36, Deepa surprisingly decided to pursue a career in sports! No social taboos or restricted mindsets could stop her. She has till now successfully competed in various sports. Today she has 58 national & 18 International medals on her name!
The Paralympics games began in the year 1968. However, no Indian female athlete had participated in the games before Deepa. She became the first Indian woman to participate as well as win a medal in the games in the year 2016. She made history by winning the silver medal in shot put.
"When I do athletics, that belongs to 1.3 billion Indians – the whole platform changes. The sense of pride because you are wearing your country’s colour and you have the entire country backing you – that’s a different high altogether.” @asianpg2018 https://t.co/lUEchfOv6A
— Para Athletics (at ?) (@ParaAthletics) October 3, 2018
In an interview with The Hindu, Deepa Malik’s elder daughter Devika said,
“We always expected her to finish on the podium. She had put in a lot of hard work and dedication. She would get up at 5 a.m. and workout for four to five hours in the morning and another two to three hours in the evening. She underwent a tough training before going to Rio and would follow a strict diet regimen.”
Deepa has won medals in IPC Athletics World Championship, IPC Oceania Asian Championship, Incheon Asian Para Games, Open Athletics Championships, and many more tournaments. The multi-talented athlete has won these in events like shot put, discus throw, and javelin throw. In 2018, she won the gold medal at the World Para Athletics Grand Prix in a discus event in Asian Ranking 53 category.
Deepa is also a talented swimmer! Is there anything she hasn’t done! She swam a distance of one kilometer against the current in the river Yamuna in 2008. This achievement was indeed registered in the Limca Book of Records.
Interesting Facts about Deepa Malik
- Deepa was a part of the sports and physical education team in the formulation of the 12th five-year plan (2012-2017).
- She is also a motivational speaker who has given lectures to MNC’s and at educational conclaves.
- In the year 2012, Deepa was bestowed with the Arjuna Award. At the age of 42, she became the oldest recipient of the award.
- An avid biker, in fact, Deepa has biked on dangerous roads and challenging terrains in Ladakh. She is the first paraplegic woman in the world to achieve this amazing feat.
- She has participated in the most dangerous biking tournament called Raid De Himalayas. Here, she covered a distance of 1700 km in 8 days. Considering the extreme temperatures and difficult terrains, we can only imagine the challenges that must have come up!
- Deepa was also a part of the grid and national anthem ceremony at the flag-off of the Formula-1 race at Buddh international circuit in 2013.
- She is working towards the independence of other physically challenged individuals now.
- Deepa met her husband in a park and has the most interesting take on their first meeting.
She told IndianWomenBlog.org,
“ I used to go on a run every day. Every day I saw this boy running, too. One day, he came with this gorgeous-looking motorcycle. And, I so wanted to ride it. I went up to the guy and asked him to give me the keys. He asked if I would be able to manage it? I commanded to hand me the keys then and he did. I rode the motorcycle and pulled out a few stunts and gave it back to him. I told him that I’d have married any guy who’d not ask me why I needed a motorcycle and would buy me one.” Her husband basically proposed to her with a bike!
As we conclude…
In an interview with XtraTime, Deepa gave an inspiring message to all physically-challenged athletes out there.
I think the main message I should give out is, take initiative and stop living on excuses. If you have a passion and if you have a dream, then you should have the courage to fulfill the dream. You can only do it by putting your heart and soul in it. Be positive, work hard and enjoy what you do. You are ready to win an Olympic medal.
Very well said Deepa Ma’am! Most of us are simply living a life full of excuses. We have a habit of finding reasons, that we forget finding our purpose in life. Instead of letting setbacks and difficulties push us behind, we should use them as stepping stones towards success. A dream simply remains a dream until we find the courage to pursue it. Deepa Malik’s life story will surely help many of us to find that courage. Cheers to living a life of passion, aspirations, and fulfilled dreams!
Awards and Recognition
- Padmashri Award, 2017
- President Role Model Award, 2014
- Arjuna Award, 2012
- Maharashtra Chhatrapati Award, 2009-10
- Haryana Karambhhomi Award, 2008
- SwawlambanPuruskar Maharashtra, 2006
Limca World Records
- Longest all India drive Chennai – Delhi (3278 Km), 2013
- Driving Across Nine High Altitude Passes in Nine Days on Leh-Ladhakh Highest Motorable Roads, 2011
- Riding Special Bike, 2009
Deepa Malik – Achievements
|2016||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||Shot put – F53||Silver|
IPC World Championships
|2011||Christchurch, New Zealand||Shot put – F52-53||Silver|