Deepa Malik, India’s lone woman Paralympics silver medallist, announced on Monday that she will be hanging her boots from active sports in order to serve as the president of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) in accordance with the National Sports Code.
The 49-year-old took to Twitter and clarified that she was declaring her retirement from the sport for her affiliation with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS).
To be an office bearer at PCI had left active sports as that is the national sports code.. people waited for some declaration but one felt it’s obvious. today initiated paper work for my Paralympics Medal Pension which was pending at my end. Will continue to serve #parasports pic.twitter.com/LNbRgpQlHB
— Deepa Malik (@DeepaAthlete) May 11, 2020
In a deleted tweet, she had earlier written, “For election purpose had already submitted a letter to PCI long back, awaited decisions of High Court to validate new committee and now for affiliation with MYAS making a public declaration of retirement from active sports. Time to serve parasports and support others to achieve.”
According to the National Sports Code, an active athlete is not eligible to hold an official post in any federation, and Malik revealed that she had taken the decision to retire earlier this year itself.
“Who said I announced my retirement today? I already retired in September last year before filing my nomination paper though I did not make a public announcement. After that, I was able to stand for PCI president’s post and I won the election and became president,” Malik told PTI.
Malik said in an interview with ANI that she now has to abide by the rules.
“I have to go by the rules that exist in India. However, if the call of forces come into play, then I might re-think my decision around 2022 Asian Games. I do not know if the sportsperson in me will ever go away. For now, I have to retire, if I have to pursue the post in PCI,” said Malik.
Deepa Malik has been a flag-bearer for parasports in India and she is the only woman para-athlete to have been given the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.
Apart from her silver medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, she has won 58 national and 23 international medals. Malik is also a recipient of the Padma Shri and Arjuna Award.