Para-athletes are receiving support from trained athletes: Deepa Malik

PUNE: For the silver medalist at the Rio Paralympic Games. Deepa Malik Overcoming challenges has been a way of life.

Whether it's under the knife 31 times to remove a spinal tumor and accept lower-body paralysis after surgeries in 1999 or the continuing fight to excel in all the sports he participated in, including silver in Rio in 2016 Deepa appears to have thrived under pressure.

Although Haryana's athlete retired from her playing career, she is never without challenges even as president of the Paralympic Committee of India ( PCI ).

Deepa took charge as the chief of the PCI in February and before she could start her work to prepare the para-athletes for the Tokyo Games, the Covid-19 spread disrupted her plans.

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However, she does not believe in excuses. We have started connecting with our athletes through webinars organized by the Indian Sports Authority (SAI). We are educating our athletes through these webinars and clarifying their doubts about things like nutrition, physical therapy, equipment or information on the type of wheelchairs to be used et al. We are also inviting a trained athlete to guide participants, TOI Deepa, who moderates the sessions, told TOI.

I am grateful to DG SAI and the Ministry of Sports for organizing the webinars for athletes.

Today, we held the para-shooters webinar and invited the London bronze medalist shooter Gagan narang . I was surprised that he not only accepted the invitation, but also gave five rifles and five pistols worth Rs 15 lakh for para-shooters. He has also offered to train paratroopers at his academy, said Deepa, 45.

Deepa said times are changing and, unlike in previous years, athletes with physical abilities are coming out to support para-athletes. It is a very good trend. Gopichand He has been supporting the paratroopers and had trained Mansi Joshi before his gold in the World Championship. Gagan has also been supporting paratroopers. Many athletes, including Gagan, have told me that they expect our para-athletes to win more medals in Tokyo than athletes with physical abilities.

The Olympics have been postponed to next year, however Deepa feels that postponement is better than cancellation. Athletes wait four years to participate in the Olympic Games. The situation was inevitable and I think it is better to have a new date than not to have a date all together, said the para-athlete, who received the Arjuna Prize as a prize. swimmer in 2012 and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award as pitcher in 2016.

He added that the postponement will not be an excuse for Indian para-athletes. In the current scenario, nothing is under our control and everyone is going through the identical phase. Using the phase for lack of performance will not work as the situation is similar for everyone else in the world. We will seek to use this time by learning as much as we can, he said.