Sakshi Malik: Delighted with my Rio success

Sakshi Malik says now everybody knows her and they shower her with love and affection. “Everybody is hopeful that I will qualify for the next Olympics and win a medal there, too,” she says.

“I will look forward to training with a variety of partners so that I can learn a lot and get ready to win another medal at the Tokyo Olympics,” says Sakshi Malik.   -  Getty Images

After adding wrestling to India’s medal tally at the 2016 Rio Olympics, bronze medallist Sakshi Malik, the first woman wrestler from the country to secure a podium finish in the quadrennial event, has seen some ups and downs in her career.

A year ahead of the Tokyo Games, Malik is back in preparatory mode. The trip to Olympics this time is different as her medal from the previous edition gives her loads of confidence, while simultaneously adding the immense weight of expectations.

While completing her engagements for the Delhi Sultans in season four of the Pro Wrestling League in Greater Noida in January, Malik took some time out to speak about her journey after Rio and her dreams for Tokyo.

How do you rate the Pro Wrestling League? How does it contribute in the growth of Indian wrestling?

PWL is helping Indian wrestlers a lot. We are getting such a good platform in our own country. We get to train with world and Olympic champions and the younger wrestlers benefit by taking part in the league. Everybody gets to learn something or the other from the PWL. Especially, it is a good platform to learn and improve for Indian wrestlers.

Following your success at Rio, how different it is as you approach the next Olympics, which is a year away?

I am delighted with my success at the Rio Olympics. Now everybody knows me and they shower their love and affection on me. Everybody is hopeful that I will qualify for the next Olympics and win a medal there, too.

Tell us a little bit about your preparation for the Olympics. What will be your targets?

I have not thought too far ahead, but I have a target of winning a medal for the country at the Tokyo Olympics. The Asian Championships and World Championships will be the main tournaments for me. In 2019, the World Championships are the main qualifier. My primary target will be to qualify from there.

Are you considering any technical changes to your game? Any areas of improvement you may like to work on before the Olympics?

After Rio, my performance has not been so good. The reason for that is now there is a lot of pressure of expectations on me. Everyone thinks that Sakshi will win medals in all events. Sometimes it is about luck, too. Last year, at the Asian Games, I lost in the last two seconds and at the World Championships I lost in a microsecond — the final 0.07 second. Luck plays a vital role in the last seconds. I will try my best and not let the bout slip out of my hands in the final seconds.

“PWL is helping Indian wrestlers a lot. We are getting such a good platform in our own country,” says the Olympic bronze medallist.   -  PTI

 

Tell us something about your planning for the next Olympics.

For the Tokyo Olympics, I have planned to compete in a few events and attend camps abroad. I will look forward to training with a variety of partners so that I can learn a lot and get ready to win another medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

How is your support system and what is your biggest source of inspiration?

My biggest inspiration is my family. Everybody at home supports me. My husband (Satyawart Kadian) is a big support. He himself is a wrestler and an Arjuna Award winner. My father-in-law (Satyavan Kadian, also an Arjuna Award winner) was a well-known wrestler and the whole family supports me a lot.