Despite a rough lead into the Rio Games involving a challenge to her participation and lost luggage on the way to Rio, India’s Deepa Malik managed to overcome these problems and give India an unexpected silver medal in the women’s F53 shot put at the 2016 Summer Paralympics.
The field for the women’s F53 shot put was scheduled to be seven deep, but Mexico’s Estla Salas was a did not start. Starting off with only six competors, the first shot putter up was Brunei’s Fatema Nedham. She was unable to put up a successful throw in her first three attempts. Deepa was up next with her three attempts. On her first attempt, she put up a throw of 4.26 meters, matching her season best. Her second throw was 4.49 meters, better than the season’s best for all the competitors in the field yet to come. It was also a new personal best. On her third attempt, she threw 4.41 meters.
Next up was Ukraine’s Svitlana Statsyuk. Like Nedham, she was unable to get off a single legal throw in her three attempts. Following Statsyuk, it was Ireland’s Deidre Mongan’s turn. After a bad first throw, Mongan got a distance of 4.04 meters on the board on her second attempt. Her third attempt was shorter at 3.88 meters.
The fifth competitor up was Greece’s Dimitra Korokida. Her first attempt was 4.17 meters. This was followed by two more successful throws with one at 4.27 meters and another at 4.28 meters. The last throw set a season best for Korokida. The final competitor in the event was Canada’s Pamela Lejean. Her first attempt was at a distance of 3.90 meters, which put her into fourth. Her second was 4.07 meters which moved her into bronze.
The second three attempts rolled around. Brunei’s Fatema Nedham was able to put three successful throws this round, with throws of 4.60 meters, 4.60 meters and 4.76 meters. The final throw set a new Asian record in the event and moved Nedham into gold medal position.
Malik was up next. In her second set of attempts, Malik did not score a mark on her first attempt. On her second one, she put up a distance of 4.41 meters. Her third throw was the best at 4.61 meters and was a new personal best. It left her in silver medal position with four more people left to throw.
In Stetsyuck’s second set of attempts, she was able to put a mark on the board of 3.48 meters in her fifth attempt. This put her into sixth position, and was well off her personal best of 4.77 meters. When Greece’s Korkida had her chance, she put scores of 3.83 meters, 4.10 meters and 4.22 meters. These were not as good as her first set where she set a new season best. It was good enough though for her to retain her bronze medal position with one shot putter remaining.
In her final three attempts, Canada’s Lejean managed three good throws of 4.16 meters, 4.08 meters and 4.15 meters. These were unable to move her out of last place. They also insured Malik of a silver medal because the remaining thrower Brunei’s Nedham, already had gold. Nedham had an opportunity to throw again because of issues in her first set. She put up throws of 4.24 meters, 4.05 meters and 4.31 meters in her final throws.
Following the conclusion of the event, Mexico’s Estla Salas challenged her exclusion as a result of a late arrival to the changing room. This appeal was ultimately rejected, but it delayed the announcement of the medals until the evening athletics session.