Deepa Malik: National awards a boost for Para movement in India

Silver medallist at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, Deepa Malik believes that national recognition will motivate the next generation.

By Naveen Peter

The 2020 national sports awards will see a number of para athletes being honoured for achievements in their respective disciplines.

While para high jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu will lead this line after being included in the list of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardees, the highest sporting honour of India, seven other protagonists from para sports will receive honours under different categories.

According to Deepa Malik, the president of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI), such recognition will go a long way in helping improve the profile of para sports in the country.

“These recognitions are a big motivation and boost towards the Paralympic movement in the country,” Deepa Malik, a silver medallist at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, told IANS.

“It has come at the right time to motivate our athletes and coaches to work harder towards their Paralympic dreams.”

Mariyappan Thangavelu won the gold in para high jump at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. 

The Paralympic movement in India has gathered steam since Rio 2016 which saw the nation finish with their best-ever medal tally. India won two gold, a silver and a bronze medal at the Rio Games.

The national awards are another move in the right direction.

“It is a new beginning for the entire Indian para-sports fraternity, including the PCI,” Gursharan Singh, the PCI secretary said.

“The winners should be proud of their hard work put in the past years and continue doing that. Results, recognitions and motivation to other fellow athletes will only follow.”

Monetary benefits likely to get higher

Meanwhile, the winners of the national sports awards 2020 are expected to get better cash incentives.

If the proposal from the sports ministry -- reportedly tabled in front of the government -- is approved, the winners of the Khel Ratna award will receive INR 25 lakh as compared to existing INR 7.5.

The Arjuna Award winners could receive INR 15 lakh instead of INR 5 lakh while the incentive for Dhyanchand and Dronacharya (Lifetime) awards will also see a rise from INR 5 lakh to INR 15 lakh.

The proposal also details the provision to increase the incentive for regular Dronacharya award from INR 5 lakh to INR 10 lakh.