Rio Paralympics silver medallist Deepa Malik, who became the first Indian woman to win a medal at the 2016 Summer Games, has backed out of the next edition in Tokyo due to injury and is instead considering taking up swimming.
Malik had won a silver in shot put in 2016 Paralympics, but she revealed that shot put and javelin in her disability category were not a part of the next Paralympics, which will be hosted by Tokyo from August 25.
“Taking about the next tournaments, it is very unfortunate that in 2020 (Paralympics) and the forthcoming World Championships, my events, shot put and javelin in 53 category, are not there. The only event being offered in my disability category is discus,” Malik told reporters on Monday in Mumbai.
Throwing light on why she is keen to do swimming, Malik said she tried practising discus, but injury to her spinal cord has prevented her from going ahead.
“I did my best to learn discus, which has not been my major sport. I won a bronze at the Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta (in discus) in my run up to prepare for 2020 (Paralympics).
“But, unfortunately the side jerk with discus is causing injury in my cervical region. My spinal cord injury is very high. So the movement and jerk of discus is not suiting my body. So, I had to take a step down, because of the repetitive injuries due to that,” explained 48-year-old Malik.
But the para-athlete, known for her never-say-die attitude, is keen to take up sea-swimming.
“However, I do not want to stop my fitness and training. And I am thinking of doing swimming this year, back to my roots. Swimming not at the (level) of Paralympics as such, but at the national level. So that I continue to train and touch base with my swimming background.
“This year I want to make a personal record in sea swimming (but) not in a competitive way and (add) another milestone in my life. It is just that the sea is left and I want to touch the sea waters,” she added.
Malik also spoke on the need to have more inclusive infrastructure for para-athletes in the country.
“We need more coaches, physiotherapists, trained ones to handle various disabilities and above all we need Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR wing of various companies) to come forward and adapt para-sports, because it is main-stream sport, at par with Olympics,” she said.