Deepa Malik lauds para-badminton players' mental resilience, touts double-medal haul for India at Paris 2024

Paralympic Committee of India President Deepa Malik at the Tokyo Paralympics shooting range.
Paralympic Committee of India President Deepa Malik at the Tokyo Paralympics shooting range.

Deepa Malik, president of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI), said she was elated with India’s impressive showing at the Tokyo Paralympics 2021. The Indian contingent won 19 medals, including five gold, eight silver and six bronze medals.

The 54-member strong contingent, playing across nine disciplines, outlined India’s best showing ever at the Tokyo Paralympics.

Deepa Malik spoke to ANI following the conclusion of India’s events. Touching on how the PCI will be aiming to double India’s medal tally at the 2024 Paris Paralympics, she said:

“In 2016, we had won four medals, and in 2021, we have now won 19 medals. As we move towards adulthood, para-sports were in infancy but the athletes' hard work has made it more mature. In adulthood, we are stronger, and in 2024, we will try to double our tally.”

On the final day of the Tokyo Paralympics, India put on a good show in para-badminton – a sport making its debut – by winning four medals, including two gold. Deepa Malik said she got goosebumps while watching Suhas Yathiraj’s match on the final day of the showpiece event. Congratulating the IAS officer, she said:

“The para-badminton players are mentally very strong. I watched all the matches, and you had to be on your toes as every point was important. These games are not some charity sports that para-athletes went and played; they competed with strong athletes and gave tough fights to the opponents. I got goosebumps while watching the match of Suhas; it's commendable how he managed both his duties and his training.”

Deepa Malik lauds coaches on Teachers' Day

It was only fitting that Indian athletes registered their best-ever showing in Paralympics on Teachers’ Day.

India made their first appearance at the Paralympic Games in 1968. From then until after Rio 2016, they won just 12 medals. However, at the Tokyo Olympics 2021 alone, the country bested their all-time tally by a whopping seven medals.

Also crediting the athletes' coaches for their tireless efforts, Deepa Malik said:

“Many coaches had given me a feedback and we were sure of creating history at the Paralympics. Today is Teachers' Day, and I thank all my teachers, be it in federations or my coaches who helped us achieve the feat. I also thank each and every coach for giving world-class training to the athletes. Coaches sacrificed a lot but didn't compromise on the training of athletes.”

Also read: Bhavina Patel takes over the baton from Deepa Malik

Edited by Sandeep Banerjee

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