After a twelve-day medal drought at the Olympics, India finally made its mark with a bronze medal win in the Women’s Freestyle 58kg Category.
All thanks to Sakshi Malik, a 23-year-old wrestler hailing from the village Mokhra near Rohtak district in Haryana.
In what was an epic comeback, Sakshi fought her way back from a 5-point deficit to win the Bronze medal bout and clinch a maiden medal for India at the Rio games.
The win proves that there is no dearth of talent in the Indian contingent – one which has only looked up to its famed stars for delivering the goods up until now. It has also opened doors for more women to take up sports and dream of making it big on the international stage.
Here are 5 interesting things you must know about Sakshi Malik
1. Sakshi Malik started wrestling at an early age of 10. She would accompany her mother Sudesh Malik to the Sir Chotu Ram Stadium Wrestling Academy in Rohtak every day for her training.
2. Early in her career, Sakshi had to wrestle with boys and was not allowed to participate in wrestling events as it was considered socially unacceptable for women to take part in combat sports.
3. She announced her arrival on the international stage with a silver medal win at the 2014 Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, Scotland. This was followed by a bronze medal win at the 2015 Asian Championships in Doha.
4. Sakshi was only the second choice for India in the Women’s 58kg Freestyle Wrestling. The first was Geeta Phogat, the famed 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist who lost contention for Rio games after a disciplinary suspension by WFI (Wrestling Federation of India) in May 2016.
5. Sakshi was the least heralded among women wrestlers for a medal finish at the Olympics. The whole media attention was on the more popular Vinesh Phogat (48kg Freestyle Wresting) and Babita Kumari (53kg Freestyle Wrestling).
With wishes pouring in from all corners, the Rohtak girl took to the internet to post her first tweet thanking everyone for the love and support. She also dedicated the medal to every Indian who was hoping for India’s tide turn in Rio.
— Sakshi Malik (@SakshiMalik) August 18, 2016
It seems that India’s quest for medals at Rio has just begun!