Sushil, Yogeshwar served as motivation for Rio performance - Sakshi

Sakshi Malik reflects on her performance at the Rio Olympics in 2016, when she won a bronze medal.

Published : Jun 17, 2020 16:27 IST , New Delhi

Sakshi Malik became India’s first female wrestler to win an Olympic medal, in 2016.
Sakshi Malik became India’s first female wrestler to win an Olympic medal, in 2016.

Sakshi Malik became India’s first female wrestler to win an Olympic medal, in 2016.

Sakshi Malik said on Wednesday the achievements of Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt in the Olympics motivated her to win a medal at the Rio Games in 2016. Sakshi became India’s first woman wrestler to win an Olympic medal when she defeated reigning Asian champion Aisuluu Tynybekova 8-5 in the 58kg category, despite trailing 5-0 at one stage, in the repechage medal playoff.

“I had been playing sports since I was a child but had little idea about the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games,” Sakshi said.

“It was after I got into wrestling and started winning medals at a junior level that the interest in these events started going up. Later on, as Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt started winning medals including at the Olympics, it served as a huge motivation for me,” Sakshi said during a wrestling session of E-Pathshala , the athlete and coach education programme of the Sports Authority of India conducted in association with the Wrestling Federation of India.

Reflecting on her bronze-medal win in Rio, she said it took time for the achievement to sink in.

Unforgettable moment

“When I reached that bronze medal match, I didn’t want to lose at the final hurdle. My coach kept telling me that [I was] better than [my opponent]. It was a tough match and only at the very end was I able to win. I can’t explain in words what the feeling of winning was, I didn’t know whether to laugh or smile or cry,” she said.

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“My coach explained to me that my life will change after this medal but when I grow old, it is a precious memory that will always remain with me. I am very grateful for all the love the country has given me after I won the Olympic bronze.”

E-Pathshala was also attended by WFI coach Jagmandar Singh as well as technical officials and referees.

During her interaction, Sakshi spoke on the importance of these sessions. “This is a very good initiative by SAI and WFI. In these difficult times, when even we can’t train properly, with these sessions you can stay at home and learn a lot.”

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