Rio Paralympics silver medallist Deepa Malik was Thursday named the recipient of the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship for 2019 in recognition of her “inspiring achievements”.
The 48-year-old Malik, who won the silver medal in shot put F53 event in Rio in 2016, will work to promote sporting, cultural as well people-to-people relationship between India and New Zealand.
As a Hillary Fellow, Deepa will travel to New Zealand and meet Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, undertake a series of visits to Paralympic sporting organisations and engage with Kiwi athletes, students and media as well as the significant Indian community there.
Athletes in F53 category can do only seated throws and they have full muscle power on their shoulder, elbow and wrist in the throwing arm.
“We are very pleased to announce that the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship for 2019 has been awarded to Indian Paralympic athlete Deepa Malik. The fellowship, awarded by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, aims to strengthen the ties between India and New Zealand,” a New Zealand High Commission release said.
“It gives us great pleasure to award this fellowship to someone who exemplifies two values that make a great sportsperson: courage and a can-do attitude. In Deepa, we see an inspiring achiever who can confidently and proudly carry forward our message of inclusivity and the pursuit of excellence,” it added.
Deepa, who was diagnosed with spinal tumour at the age of 36, said, “I feel absolutely humbled and blessed to be able to represent the essence of India, for the bilateral relationship between the two countries. Prime Minister Ardern’s leadership is such an inspiration to the world and resonates with Indian values.”