Deepa Malik, a semi-athlete and only Paralympic medalist and medalist from India has been elected Chair of the Indian Paralympic Committee, although the election results are subject to a case pending in the Delhi High Court.
Deepa Malik, 49, who won the silver medal in the F-53 shot put event at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, was elected unchallenged as president in the PCI election held in Bangalore on Friday.
“My sincere congratulations on the start of new entries for a new term in @ParalympicIndia. Expressing my gratitude that I have been assigned to the presidency and welcome an athlete-focused approach to paralympic sports in India,” Deepa Malik wrote on his Twitter account.
"A wonderful transformation for me personally, for which I look forward to continued support. I hope to do my duty with complete honesty and integrity."
Gurcharan Singh, who was the interim president after former president Rao Inderjit Singh was sacked from his post last year, was also elected without opposition.
Kavender Choudhury and Shashi Ranjan Prasad Singh were elected Vice-Chairs, while M. Mahadeva was appointed as Treasurer. Neil Nandkishwar Baburao and Cantilal Parmar were elected Deputy Secretary-General.
Returning Officer R Radha, a retired district judge and judge of additional hearings, announced that the incumbents said the results would be subject to new orders for approval in a case pending before the Delhi High Court.
Malik remembers his trip to the 2016 Paralympics
Diba, who is also a Rajiv Gandhi Kheil Ratna recipient and Padma Shri winner, also won the silver medal at the 2011 IPC World Championships at the F 52-53 shot put event, in addition to being awarded a silver medal in Discus Throw (F 52-53) and Throwing Events Javelin (F 53-54) at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.
And the Sports Ministry in September last year had questioned the PCI's credibility, citing a violation of the National Sports Act in Paracorps' decision to expel Rao Inderjit Singh. The ministry said it found the PCI response regarding Rao Inderjit's removal unsatisfactory.
The PCI changed its statute to block access to public officials during its annual general assembly on May 4 last year. Singh was a minister of state (planning) in the union government at the time.
"This is the first time that an elite athlete has been appointed as the head of a sports body to compete in it," Gurcharan said of Deepa's selection.
Gurcharan hopes that the CCP will regain recognition from the Ministry of Sports if the Delhi High Court declares these elections valid.
"The Ministry of Sports is a party to the pending case before the Delhi High Court, so if the Supreme Court says the elections are correct, I think that should also be binding on the Ministry of Sports," Gurcharan said.