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Our medals are going to awaken India - My Take

My day starts as early as 5 AM. As a spastic paraplegic, my body needs plenty of physiotherapy so I do a lot of stretching for a couple of hours before I reach the training area. I do strength training for about four hours and for the same time again in the evening.

Nutrition is a critical factor for every sportsperson but even more so for me. Since I do not have a muscle that holds my stomach and internal organs I have to be very careful about what I eat.

The muscle fibre growth for my age is not on par with athletes who are in the 20s. So I have a nutritionist working with me very closely.

This is not a question of preparing for a few months or days but years of passion and endurance. Most athletes have parents to look after them. I am a homemaker with a family to take care of. I give a lot of credit to my daughters who make sure I am tension-free and support me.

Each of us has our journey. I want to change attitudes towards disability and to create awareness about the rights that a physically challenged person is entitled to.

When I became challenged at the age of 30, I was educated and aware. I could feel the change. Suddenly I became a nobody because I was in a wheelchair.

I hate the term wheelchair-bound. I am wheelchair-liberated. I have set out to change the social mindset.

Para-sports need to arrive in India. Winning an Olympic medal is important so that my country knows that para-sports is also important.

No one has invested in us; no TV network is buying rights to the Paralympics games, not even our national channel Doordarshan.

It is our medals that are going to awaken India.

About the Writer

46 year old Deepa Malik is a para-athlete and Arjuna award winner who will represent India at the Paralympic games. She is also a record-breaking swimmer, adventure sports player, biker, and businesswoman.

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