Paralympian Deepa Malik named for New Zealand Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship
Rio Paralympics silver medallist Deepa Malik has been named as the recipient of the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship for 2019.
“We are pleased to announce that the 2019 New Zealand Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship has been awarded to Indian Paralympic athlete Deepa Malik,” a New Zealand High Commission release said.
The first Indian woman to earn a medal at the Paralympic Games, Deepa has won 58 national and 23 international medals. A recipient of the Padma Shri and Arjuna Award, she has entered the Limca Book of World Records four times.
As a Sir Edmund Hillary Prime Minister’s Fellow for New Zealand, Deepa will travel to New Zealand and meet with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, undertake a series of visits to Paralympic sporting organisations, and engage with Kiwi athletes, students and the media as well as New Zealand’s significant Indian Diaspora community.
The Fellowship Program has been running since 2008, which aims to strengthen the relationship between India and New Zealand by showcasing the different aspects of the warm friendship between the two countries. NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant was the recipient of this prestigious fellowship in 2017.
Deepa recently joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), attributing her decision to join the party to the assistance provided by the NDA government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi to para-athletes, that resulted in a vast improvement in their performance at the international level.
PM Modi had said in his Mann Ki Baat and during the inauguration of TransStadia at Ahmedabad that every Indian youth should meet Deepa and hear her motivational talks to get a correct outlook towards life, and also to understand how the youth could contribute towards nation building.
“I feel absolutely humbled and blessed to be able to represent the essence of New India, for the bilateral relationship between the two countries. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s leadership is such an inspiration to the world and resonates with the vision of my honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji,” Deep said.
“This prestigious fellowship bestowed upon me is a clear declaration of great attention towards the empowerment of women, people with disabilities and the celebration of diverse cultures in both the countries,” she added.