Paralympic Athlete Deepa Malik is Sir Edmund Hillary Fellow 2019

Paralympic Athlete Deepa Malik is Sir Edmund Hillary Fellow 2019

Venkat Raman

Auckland, April 12, 2019

Deepa Malik with New Zealand High Commissioner Joanna Kempkers (Picture Sourced)

Multi-Award winning Paralympic Athlete Deepa Malik has been named ‘Sir Edmund Hillary Fellow’ for 2019.

About Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship

The New Zealand government launched the ‘Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship’ in 2008 to provide for the visit of distinguished Indians to New Zealand.

The then Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand announced the initiation of the Fellowship in New Delhi during his first official visit to New Delhi in September 2008.

He was also the first Governor General of New Zealand to go to India on a State visit.

“Sir Edmund was much loved in New Zealand and India and the Fellowship will see an increasing number of Indians of distinction visiting this country in various capacities,” he had said.

New Zealand High Commissioner to India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and Ambassador to Nepal, Joanne Kempkers said in her Quarterly Newsletter released yesterday that as a ‘Hillary Fellow,’ Deepa will travel to New Zealand, meet with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, visit Paralympic Sporting Organisations and engage with Kiwi athletes.

“When she comes home, Deepa will be a great ambassador for India-New Zealand relationship,” Ms Kempkers said.

About Deepa Malik

As well as being the First Sportswoman, First Paraplegic Indian woman Biker, Swimmer and Car Rallyist, Deepa is an entrepreneur, social activist and motivational speaker.

“In every arena of life, I have strived to serve the Tricolour (Indian National Flag). I will continue to devote myself to the people with the same zeal and energy. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve and represent India and I would love to continue doing that,” she said.

Paralysed chest below, Deepa began her sports career at the age of 36, she has cut down all social norms.

Awards and Citations

She has won 58 national and 23 international medals and has been mentioned four times in the Limca Book of World Records.

She won a Silver in Shotput F53 Category with Lifetime Personal Best Performance of 4.61 meters. She is also a recipient of ‘Padma Shri,’ a high civilian award given by the Government of India every year to mark the country’s Republic Day on January 26; the ‘Arjuna Award’ given by the Ministry of Youth & Sport Affairs to distinguished Sportspersons; ‘President’s National Role Model Award’ (Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment); ‘Women Transforming India Award’ (NITI Aayog, United Nations India & MyGov) and ‘First Ladies Award’ (Ministry of Women & Child Development) as well as five State government honours. 

She has thus far won 23 international Medals and 68 National and State level Medals in Swimming, Javelin, Shotput & Discus, Deepa has been listed as one of the ten most inspirational women para-athletes of the world by International Paralympic Committee.

Distinguished Sportswoman

She was ranked as one of the top 10 Asian Women Leaders in 2017 by the Great Asia Women Achievers Awards 2017. She is also India’s first ever female Paralympic Medallist across any sport. She has created history by becoming the only Indian woman athlete ever to win Medals at three successive Asian Games and retain the Asian Record in Javelin throw.

She also holds a world record in open river swimming for swimming across the Yamuna River for 1 km against current. She is the first Indian to receive the International Women’s Day Recognition from the International Paralympic Committee (awarded annually to one woman from all over the world), for her contribution to advancing disability sports for women in India. 

Deepa is also a record holder in driving customised cars & motorbikes; she became the first ever physically challenged person (man or woman) in the world to get a rally licence to compete in the ‘Raid-de-Himalaya’ car rally on the world’s highest motorable roads.

Wheeling Happiness Foundation

As the Founder of Wheeling Happiness Foundation, she has taken up the cause of enhancing the emotional health of persons with challenges and empowering women through outdoor sports, motor sports and adventure activities and also assisting the training and sports equipment requirements of para sports persons.

The Foundation also enables persons from lower socio-economic strata as well as running disability sports awareness and advocacy sessions at various schools and colleges.

The Foundation has provided more than 500 mobility aiding devices.

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