Deepa Malik, the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic medal, admits category changes and injury have put paid to her chances of competing at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Malik won silver in the shot put F53 at Rio 2016 but the shot and javelin – her favoured events – are not set to feature in the Japanese capital in her category.
The 48-year-old attempted to switch to the discus but was stopped by injury, so now she is considering venturing into the world of sea swimming.
"It is very unfortunate that in 2020 and the forthcoming World Championships, my events, shot put and javelin in the 53 category, are not there,” Malik said, as reported by India Today.
"I did my best to learn discus, which is not been my major sport.
“I won a bronze at the Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta [in discus] in my run up to prepare for 2020.
"But, unfortunately the side jerk with discus is causing injury in my cervical region.
“My spinal cord injury is very high, so discus is not suiting my body.
“I had to take a step down, because of the repetitive injuries.”
Malik, the recipient of the New Zealand Prime Minister's Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship for 2019, explained her motivations for turning to swimming.
"I do not want to stop my fitness and training,” she said.
“I am thinking of doing swimming this year – back to my roots.
“Swimming not at the [level] of Paralympics as such, but at the national level.
"This year I want to make a personal record in sea swimming.”