New Delhi [India], Aug 19 (ANI): Deepa Malik, the Rio Paralympics silver medallist, who has been nominated for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, said she will dedicate the honour to her father.
Malik said that her father died on April 30 in 2018, which was the last day to file nomination for the award.
"In the month of April 2018, my father was undergoing his final stages of cancer. The only question he would ask was 'have you completed your nomination filed for Khel Ratna?' because 30th April was the last date. 30th April was the last date of nomination and it was the same day I lost him," Malik told ANI on Monday.
"So that last thing my father saw, I remember, was the file of Khel Ratna. I am so happy that it happened, though a year later, I would definitely like to dedicate it to him," she added.
The selection committee of sports awards 2019 on August 17 named Malik's name for the honour and apart for her, Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia will also be conferred with this prestigious award.
She is the first Indian woman to earn 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.
Malik stated that her main aim is not awards and rewards, rather making her country proud.
"I think it has just validated my entire hard work, my whole journey. Awards and rewards were never the aim. It was always winning a medal and making my country proud," Malik said.
Malik also acknowledged Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new policies saying that they empowered her and now wants to serve others like her.
"Sports has given me a lot and the new policies of my Prime Minister Narendra Modi has empowered me to an extent where I am financially, emotionally and physically empowered and I want to share the same fortune with others like me. If any duty comes my way where I can serve my nation, I am going to take that opportunity," she said. (ANI)