Golfer Diksha Dagar: I’m not comfortable being called a para-athlete - Hindustan Times
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Golfer Diksha Dagar: I’m not comfortable being called a para-athlete

ByKriti Kambiri
May 25, 2024 09:00 PM IST

Diksha Dagar, a second-year student at Delhi University's School of Open Learning, has become the first Indian to play 100 matches on the Ladies European Tour.

Athlete Diksha Dagar’s name is now synonymous with golf, but few realise that she wields a pen as effortlessly as she does a golf club to tee-off. The second-year BCom (Prog) student at Delhi University’s (DU) School of Open Learning (SOL) recently tied for the 24th position in the 2024 Amundi German Masters.

Diksha Dagar is a second-year student of BCom (Prog) at Delhi University's School of Open Learning.(Photo: X)
Diksha Dagar is a second-year student of BCom (Prog) at Delhi University's School of Open Learning.(Photo: X)

Despite her accolades, Dagar expresses discomfort with being labelled a paralympian. “I am not so comfortable being called a para-athlete,” says the 23-year-old who was conferred the Arjuna Award this January.

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She also recently made history as the first Indian golfer to compete in 100 tournaments on the Ladies European Tour (LET) and is currently on another international tour, striving to bring more laurels to her country. With such impressive feats, the athlete feels strongly about being pigeonholed

Born with profound deafness, Dagar relies primarily on lip-reading or sign language to communicate. “I don’t think any athlete wants to be referred to [as disabled]. It’s like being labelled as someone lesser and being put in a box. But there is no other option, and there seems to be no other way (to compete),” she asserts.

Despite this, she refuses to let her disability hinder her commitment to the sport, making her the only golfer to participate in both the Olympics and the Deaflympics, where she has won two medals. “The biggest challenge [as a hearing-impaired person] is when people have different accents, especially on international tours. But overcoming that is as important for me as excelling in my discipline,” she explains.

"I don’t think any athlete wants to be referred to as disabled. It’s like being labelled as lesser and being put in a box. But there seems to be no other way (to compete)." Diksha Dagar, Athlete

Reflecting on her student life, which is often overshadowed by consecutive tournaments, Dagar calls SOL an “inclusive space” for differently-abled athletes. “When I’m at DU, I feel there are opportunities available to us,” says the Haryana-born Army kid. “We’re the selected few, so we’re better off than most physically challenged people in other parts of the country. I’m trying to make the most of it... Being a professional athlete, my academics often take a backseat. But it’s a well-deliberated decision. That’s where an institution like SOL is helpful; it’s why I can play 100 LET tournaments,” she says, adding, “However, there is a need for athlete-specific courses in DU to ensure inclusivity for athletes who don’t want their academics to suffer.”

 

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