With Haryana and even its neighbouring state Punjab responsible for skewed sex ratio, Rio paralympic medallist Deepa Malik today said that the mindset towards the girl child was changing and insisted sports has become a medium of women empowerment.
Hailing from Haryana, Malik was the first Indian woman athlete to win a medal at the Paralympics. The mother of two grown up daughters, is a part of 'Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao' campaign.
She feels that with more and more women proving themselves in various fields including the sporting arena, the mindset towards them is changing fast.
"I have been continuously a part of save the girl child campaign and because being a mother of two daughters, I definitely feel that it is a great initiative and a lot of work has gone in and the results are proving it," Malik told PTI here at the sidelines of an awards function.
"The mindset is changing and I think Sakshi's (Malik) medal, my medal, that of P V Sindhu's, among others, have brought in a lot of change. Sports has become a very strong medium.
"We have such amazing role models and amazing stories, Deepa Karmakar, Sindhu...I think sports has truly become a medium of empowerment for women. I think there is a lot of change in the attitude and the outlook (towards the girl child now)," she added.
Malik won a silver medal in the women's shot put event at the Paralympics and was felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a function held at Gurugram in November last year with a cash award of Rs. 4 crore.
Asked about youngsters falling in drug trap and other social ills, Malik said, "I think the only thing that should keep you high is life and the only way you can celebrate life is when you truly, honestly, dedicatedly have value addition goals in life.
"And with your hard work and your passion you can achieve those value addition goals, don't have negative goals in life. Goals have to be something which can add value, not with your own life, but your society around you. I think today's youth can do wonders, they have such beautiful opportunities, pool of knowledge, gadgets, everything at their finger tips, if used in a positive manner," she said.
She also exuded optimism that more and more sportspersons from the country, especially Haryana, will win medals and bring laurels in top sporting events in future.
"We are very very happy with the new policies that are being announced. If Haryana has a golden name, then it will move further up with the kind of facilities which are being added and budget being allocated for the betterment of sports.
"Haryana is already a goldmine of sportspersons for the country," she said.
On a personal front, she said that "there have been a few months of lot of felicitations, lot of affection, love, lot of seminars and the medal has given my voice a little bit of weight to put forward awareness about the para sports".
"I feel very very honoured to become a medium of change through my medal. But I definitely have to go back to my training and I have to give myself a serious regime of training because my world championship is round the corner. My major focus will be Asian Games in 2018 and 2020, definitely," she added.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)