Deepa Malik Becomes First Woman Para-Athlete To Be Honoured With Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award

Paralympic silver-medallist Deepa Malik was conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award by President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, making her the first Indian woman para-athlete and the oldest to be honoured with the award. 

Malik, who won a silver medal in the shot put F53 category in the 2016 Rio Paralympics, was joint winner of the top honour with Asian and Commonwealth Games champion Bajrang Punia. While Deepa received the award herself, Punia had to skip the ceremony as he is presently training in Russia for the upcoming World Championships. Further Malik also became only the second para-athlete to win the award after two-time Paralympics gold medallist javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia, who received the recognition in 2017. She was quoted saying, “I am very happy. This whole journey has been more about changing the attitude of people towards disability and the hidden potential in people with disability. I think the award is going to be a huge inspiration to disabled women athletes. It took 70 years for independent India to win a medal (women’s) in Paralympics”.

Twitter was flooded with praises for the shot put athlete and here are a few:


Apart from Malik and Punia, 19 other sportspersons were conferred with the Arjuna Award, including shuttler B. Sai Praneeth, cricketers Ravindra Jadeja and Poonam Yadav, track and field stars Tejinder Pal Singh Toor, Mohammed Anas and Swapna Barman, footballer Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, hockey player Chinglensana Singh Kangujam and shooter Anjum Moudgil.

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