A full-fledged team of around 300 members including athletes, coaches, support staff, escorts, staff, and officials, is all set to represent India in the Asian Para Games 2018, slated to be held from October 6 to 13 in Jakarta. A warm heartfelt send-off ceremony was held in New Delhi on Thursday by the combined comity of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan and Paralympic Committee of India (PCI). The occasion also staged the expressions of the India Paralympic athletes including Deepa Malik, Mariappan Thangavelu, Amit Kumar Saroha, and Varun Bhati, among others, which clamps the magic of inspiring generations to come.
Deepa Malik became the first Indian woman to achieve a medal in Paralympic games by securing a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics in Shot Put. The words of her bravery and courage fail to justify the immense virtue that is tagged along with her. The athlete was paralysed at the age of 30. Without losing the will to empower her goal, she began her swimming career when she was 36 while the crown of recognition was bestowed upon her only four years later.
“Forty is an age for a woman where she goes through many changes. On one hand, there were identity crises spurting within me while I was paralysed and anchored to the wheelchair, on the other. However, when I sported the Indian tracksuit and stood below our National Flag, emblazoning my medal, everything changed as I had accomplished a profound identity,” expresses the 47-year-old athlete.
“When an athlete wins a medal, it belongs to the country and not the individual. It becomes a medal of 1.3 billion Indians.”
Arjuna Awardee and Asian Para Games medallist, Amit Kumar Saroha, is one of India’s top Para athletes and the first quadriplegic to represent India at a Paralympic Games (London, 2012). Hailing from Haryana, the sportsperson shared that he used to play hockey in his early days. Even after getting injured in 2007, the sportsmen spirit did not leave him. Amit says while addressing every para-athlete, “I wanted to see my country win medal and I wanted to be the one to make my nation proud. This motivation stays with me while I perform for my country.”
Mariappan Thangavelu, who has brought this country a huge pride, says the organisation has provided him a platform where despite the disability, he can contribute his best.
Deepa expressed her gratitude to Shah Rukh who leads the Meer Foundation and Kolkata Knight Riders and said that his step towards encouraging the athletes will help to create an awareness about it among the masses. “I am thankful to Shah Rukh Khan for coming today and motivating us to do our best. Wherever he goes, he has the charm and personality that brings a lot of recognition. His association with us will raise the awareness about the game," Deepa said.
The words, the stories, and the struggles which the athletes shared will resonate through the soul of inspirations. It will motivate humanity to adorn the many struggles that life bestows upon them. These athletes are the true heroes of the country whose courage will lead the path towards the triumph.
News Nation wishes good luck to all the athletes representing India at the Asian Para Games 2018!