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 - New Delhi World Cup Decisive For Tokyo Olympics Qualification: ISSF

“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 - Hockey | Systematic Approach And Two-way Communication Key to Rise in World Rankings: SV Sunil

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 - Badminton: Parupalli Kashyap Questions Selection Criteria of 8 Olympic Hopefuls, Asks Why Am I Not in National Camp?

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.