India’s first-ever woman Paralympic medallist, shot-putter Deepa Malik believes the country’s medal count will be in double digits at the Tokyo Games next year. “At Rio we had doubled the medals, we were a squad of 19. We had two gold, a silver and a bronze. In 2018 (Asian Para Games), we were a squad of 194 and won 72 medals. It has already set the benchmark,” Malik told paddler Mudit Dani during his chat show, ‘In The Sportlight’.Also Read - President Ram Nath Kovind Confers Khel Ratna Award 2021 on 12 Elite Sportspersons: Neeraj Chopra to Mithali Raj
“The sensational thing about Tokyo next year will be India bagging Paralympics medals in double digits,” added the 49-year-old, who had claimed a silver at Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Also Read - Anand Mahindra Gifts Personalised XUV700 to Neeraj Chopra & Sumit Antil | See Pics
Malik, who also has a silver medal from the IPC World Championships, has never let her disability come in the way of her passion. Also Read - Neeraj Chopra, Ravi Dahiya, Lovlina Borgohain Among 11 Recommended For Khel Ratna Award
She had taken inspiration from the injured soldiers of the Kargil war when, in 1999, she was told that she would need surgery to remove a spinal tumour.
“The hospital to which I was taken for my surgery was full of war casualties. I think that immediately became my inspiration. If these healthy young men were losing a limb in their line of duty, then I have no reason to crib just because I have a disease,” she recounted.
Malik had won the silver in Rio after throwing the shot put at a distance of 4.61m.
She was recently elected as the president of the Paralympic Committee of India.