DNA Women Achievers Awards 2023: Meet Deepa Malik, the paralympian who has made India proud


@ Vikash Sharma | Sr Journalist

Deepa Malik is the first Indian woman to win a medal in Paralympic Games. She was also awarded the Padma Shri in 2012 and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2019.Sports are an essential part of human life. When we consider their characteristics, we can see that we are all participants in some way, striving to create a better future and a healthier lifestyle. Through sports, we can develop our physical and mental strength, build relationships, and gain a greater appreciation for the world around us. Not only do sports provide us with an opportunity to improve ourselves, but they also offer us a chance to come together and celebrate our successes.

We have role models who inspire us to reach for the greatest heights and strive for success. From a young age, we participate in various sports in our schools and colleges, not only for physical fitness, but also to hone our mental focus and resilience.


Deepa Malik is an inspirational super-athlete and role model for the world. At the age of five, she was diagnosed with a spine tumour, and after three years of treatment and physiotherapy, she was able to make a full recovery. Unfortunately, her tumour returned when she was 29, and doctors informed her that she would never walk again after the surgery. Despite this devastating news, Deepa Malik refused to give up and instead chose to fight for her dreams. Through sheer determination and hard work, she has since gone on to become a world-renowned athlete, competing in numerous international events and winning numerous medals. Her story is a testament to the power of the human spirit and serves as an inspiration to us all.

Raised in an Army family and married to an Army officer, Malik has experienced a wide variety of sports throughout her life. Despite the many obstacles she faced, Malik never lost hope and continued to pursue her dream of becoming an athlete. On September 12, 2016, at the age of 45, Deepa made history by becoming the first Indian woman to win a medal in the Paralympic Games. She won a silver medal in shot put at the 2016 Rio Olympics, which gave her a newfound confidence. At an age when most athletes are considering retirement, Malik was just getting started.

Malik launched her athletic career at the age of 30 and quickly distinguished herself in a variety of sports, including shot put, swimming, javelin throw, discus throw, and even motorcycling. She has since accumulated an impressive 18 international and 54 national medals in various competitions. Most notably, she clinched gold in the javelin event at the 2018 Para-Athletic Grand Prix in Dubai.

Malik has earned accolades for her involvement in a variety of adventure sports. She is affiliated with the Himalayan Motorsports Association (HMA) and the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI). She has achieved a remarkable feat of four Limca world records registered in her name. Moreover, Malik has made history as the only Indian woman and para-athlete to win three consecutive Asian Para Games (2010, 2014, 2018), a feat that has earned her widespread recognition.

Malik is the first physically challenged individual in India to receive an official rally licence from the Federation Motor Sports Club of India (FMSCI), enabling her to become a navigator and driver in the country’s most challenging car rallies. She is a member and active participant of various foundations that promote sports and physical education under the Ministry of Sports in India, making a significant contribution to the development of the nation.

Malik has also received several other awards and recognitions. In 2012, she was awarded the prestigious Arjuna Award, followed by the Padma Shri award in 2017. She was also bestowed with the First Ladies award from the Ministry of Women and Child Development and India’s highest sporting honour, the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, in 2019. Most recently, in 2020, Malik was named the President of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI), a testament to her remarkable achievements in the field of sports.


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