Para-athlete Deepa Malik on Monday followed the National Sports Code guidelines and announced her retirement to hold the presidential post of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI). (More Sports News)
Taking to Twitter, Deepa Malik wrote: "For election purpose had already submitted a letter to PCI long back, awaited decisions of Highcourt to validate new committee n now for affiliation with MYAS making a public declaration of retirement from active sports. Time to serve parasports and support others to achieve".
For election purpose had already submitted a letter to PCI long back, awaited decisions of Highcourt to validate new committee n now for affiliation with MYAS making a public declaration of retirement from active sports. Time to serve parasports and support others to achieve. pic.twitter.com/IF8YLz9yrA— Deepa Malik (@DeepaAthlete) May 11, 2020
Explaining her decision, Malik told ANI: "I had already submitted this letter to PCI on 16/9/2019 but now I have submitted the letter to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports as I was waiting for the approval of the High Court. The results came in PCI favor and now the new committee is approved by the High Court".
Deepa Malik had said that she needs to look at the bigger picture to promote the budding para-athletes in the country.
As per the National Sports Code, an active athlete cannot hold an official post in any federation, and citing this rule, Malik said it is important for her to announce retirement and set a good example to follow the rules and guidelines.
"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, then I have to follow the law," Malik had told ANI.
The 49-year-old said that she feels proud of deciding to give back to the sport and added that it is important to follow the rules and guidelines that have been put in place.
"I am making this decision with a heavy heart, but I have to take this call for the betterment, I am proud that I have chosen to give back to the sport, if you want the government affiliation, then you have to follow the rules and guidelines," Malik said.
"International Paralympic Committee allows an official to participate, but it is in alignment with the national sports code, and my national sports code says that an active sportsperson cannot be an official or president in a sports federation, we are looking forward to getting affiliation from the government again, so we have to follow all guidelines, I have to be a true disciplinarian and have to abide by the rules," she added.
Deepa Malik has been a flag bearer for para-sports in the country and she was awarded Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna on last year and as a result, she became the first Indian woman para-athlete to be conferred with the highest sports award.
She is the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympic Games and has won 58 national and 23 international medals. Malik is also a recipient of the Padma Shri and Arjuna Award.
(With ANI inputs)