RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 13: The first Indian woman to clinch a Paralympic medal, a thrilled Deepa Malik says her F-53 shot put silver is a result of being daring enough to dream.
Deepa�s best throw of 4.61m from her six attempts was enough to clinch the silver medal.
�I dared to dream and I have determination to work hard and the passion and perseverance to follow that dream. Women often lose that and I have ensured that my family is not neglected, my children are doing well too,� Deepa said.
A paraplegic, paralysed from waist down, Deepa is married to an Army man and is a mother of two. The 45-year-old was consigned to the wheelchair 17 years ago after being operated for a spinal tumour.
She underwent 31 surgeries, which was healed after 183 stitches between her waist and legs.
�I am very happy to win this medal and I am so glad that I could do this for my country. I really want to thank my coaches and my trainers, Sports Authority of India, and the Sports Ministry for funding my training so beautifully.
�I also want to thank my husband for being my skill trainer and my daughters for being my strength and motivation. I am so eager to come back to India,� she said.
Deepa had won national and international medals in swimming, before switching to athletics in 2009.
�I was the first biker, first swimmer, first rallyist (rally driver) and I am going to be the first Paralympian medallist. This is huge. I give it to my daughters. I give it to my husband, my trainer, my country. I am so excited,� she said.
Deepa could have taken the gold, but for a mighty third throw of 4.76m from Bahrain�s Fatema Nedham, which was a regional record. Dimitra Korokida claimed the bronze for Greece with an effort of 4.28m.
In 2009 Deepa became the first person with paraplegia to ride in one of the world�s highest and most difficult motor rallies in the Himalayas.
Deepa�s success comes after two Indian men � high jumpers Mariyappan Thangavelu and Bhati Varun Singh � won gold and bronze respectively at the Olympic Stadium on Friday. � PTI