Deepa Malik: A Woman Of Steel – Can You Keep Up?

The story of Deepa Malik is not just about personal achievements, but also about breaking stereotypes and advocating inclusivity and equality for people with disabilities.

The story of Deepa Malik is not just about personal achievements, but also about breaking stereotypes and advocating for inclusivity and equal opportunities for people with disabilities.

In a world where adversity can often feel insurmountable, there are individuals who rise above life’s challenges, proving that determination and resilience know no bounds. One such remarkable individual is Deepa Malik, a woman whose journey from overcoming a spinal tumour at a tender age to becoming a Paralympic medallist and a source of inspiration for many is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Deepa’s journey began with a diagnosis that would change her life forever. At the tender age of five, she was diagnosed with a spinal tumour. In an era without advanced medical imaging, the road to diagnosis was arduous, marked by multiple lumbar punctures and misdiagnoses.

The tumour cast a shadow over her childhood, causing pain and discomfort, but it also set the stage for her incredible journey. In this captivating narrative, we delve into Deepa’s awe-inspiring life, a tale of defying gravity both in spirit and in sport.

Deepa Malik’s military roots

Deepa Malik para-athlete

In 1999, at the age of 29, the spinal tumour reared its ugly head once again, threatening to shatter her dreams. Doctors had no choice but to operate, but the surgery came with a heart-wrenching price – it left Deepa paralyzed from the waist down. Three surgeries and 183 stitches later, she faced a new reality.

For Deepa, these trials were not the end, but the beginning of a journey that would test her mettle and redefine her life’s purpose. She embarked on a six-year-long physiotherapy regimen, navigating the challenging path of recovery with grace and determination.

Deepa Malik hails from a family with strong military ties, a background that instilled in her the resilience and courage to face life’s battles head-on. Her marriage to an army officer further reinforced her ability to brave adversities most of us can scarcely imagine.

Never miss real stories from India's women.

Register Now

But Deepa’s story doesn’t stop at resilience.

She wears many hats with pride – a Paralympic athlete, a motor rally driver, a swimmer, a sports bike racer, an entrepreneur, a motivational speaker, and a prominent disability activist. Her pursuits prove that limitations are often mere illusions in the minds of those who dare to defy them.

Deepa Malik is the first Indian woman to win A medal at Paralympic

Deepa Malik’s indomitable spirit led her to the world of Paralympic sports, where she excelled beyond expectations. She participated in numerous international events, winning 18 international medals and over 54 national medals. Her achievements include four Limca World Records, a testament to her dedication and skill.

In 2016, Deepa Malik etched her name in the annals of history by becoming the first Indian woman athlete to win a medal in the Paralympic Games. At the age of 45, she secured a silver medal in shot put at the 2016 Rio Summer Paralympics, shattering age-related stereotypes and proving that it’s never too late to chase one’s dreams.

Deepa Malik’s exceptional achievements have not gone unnoticed. In 2012, at the age of 42, she was honoured with the prestigious Arjuna Award, becoming the oldest recipient of this accolade. In 2017, she received the Padma Shri Award, further cementing her status as an iconic figure in Indian sports.

But Deepa’s impact extends beyond medals and awards. She is a beacon of hope for countless individuals facing disabilities, a living testament to the power of the human spirit. Her story serves as a reminder that life’s most formidable challenges can be conquered with resilience, hard work, and an unyielding spirit.

An advocate for change

Deepa Malik refuses to be defined by her disability, rejecting the often well-intentioned but misguided sympathy that comes her way. Instead, she focuses on empowering herself and others with disabilities to live life to the fullest. Her journey is a testament to the triumph of ability over disability.

Her story is not just about personal achievements, but also about breaking stereotypes and advocating for inclusivity and equal opportunities for people with disabilities. She is a vocal disability rights activist, using her platform to raise awareness and push for change in societal attitudes and policies.

Throughout her life’s journey, physiotherapy has played a crucial role in Deepa Malik’s rehabilitation and athletic performance. Her early experiences with physiotherapy as a child, during her battle with a spinal tumour, laid the foundation for her understanding of its importance.

Later in life, she continued to rely on physiotherapy to maintain her mobility and achieve her athletic goals.

Inspiration beyond borders

First woman para-athlete to win Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award

Deepa Malik’s achievements go beyond the realm of sports and transcend geographical boundaries. She stands as a symbol of empowerment for women everywhere, proving that one’s gender should never be a barrier to pursuing one’s passions and dreams.

Her story resonates with individuals from all walks of life, reminding us that adversity can be the catalyst for greatness. Deepa’s legacy inspires us to break free from the shackles of self-doubt, to find strength in vulnerability, and to defy gravity in our own lives.

In closing, Deepa Malik’s life story is not just a story; it’s an invitation to embrace life’s challenges with courage, to rise above our circumstances, and to leave a mark that extends far beyond our own horizons. She reminds us that life’s obstacles are not roadblocks but stepping stones and that the pursuit of our dreams can propel us to incredible heights.

With grace, grit, and unwavering determination, Deepa Malik has soared to remarkable altitudes, and her journey continues to inspire us all to reach for the stars, no matter where we are in life’s great adventure.

Recommended read:

Image source:

Liked this post?

Join the 100000 women at Women's Web who get our weekly mailer and never miss out on our events, contests & best reads - you can also start sharing your own ideas and experiences with thousands of other women here!


About the Author

Suruchi Kumari

Hello! I am a feminist and an aspiring journalist. I'm all about dedicating myself to ensure unheard(ignored) and everyday stories of people find a regular place in your feed, through pen or mic; read more...

10 Posts | 7,138 Views

Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!

All Categories