SINCE HER bronze medal winning feat in the Rio Olympics, wrestler Sakshi Malik had not competed at the international level till last week. Last week’s Asian Wrestling Championship saw the 23-year-old win the silver medal in the 60 kg category where she lost to Rio Olympics gold medallist (63 kg) Risako Kawai of Japan in the final. Malik was in Chandigarh on the International Wrestling Day on Tuesday and termed her performance in Asian Wrestling Championship a positive one.
“I gave my best but since I was competing in my first tournament after Rio Olympics, it was not my 100 per cent performance. But it was better in a way that I won my first silver medal in Asian Championship. Kawai won the gold in 63 kg in Rio Olympics and to compete against a wrestler like her made me learn a lot. Such tough fights will motivate me. It was also good to see other Indian female wrestlers win medals; it is good for Indian wrestling,” said Malik, who became the first Indian female wrestler to win a medal in Olympics last August.
A trainee of coach Ishwar Dahiya and Mandeep Singh, Malik trained at Sir Chotu Ram Stadium in Rohtak and her historic medal in Rio Olympics was India’s only medal in wrestling in the event with no male wrestler winning the medal in Rio. Malik, who also won bronze medal in 60 kg category in Asian Wrestling Championship in Doha in 2015, shifted from 58 kg to 60 kg once again for this year’s championship. The Rohtak wrestler is now eyeing a good performance in upcoming World Championship to be held in Paris later this year. “I usually play in 60 kg in championships while in games like CWG and Asian Games, I play in 58 kg category. My last bronze medal in Asian wrestling championships too came in 60 kg. Every wrestler has different training methods and for the upcoming world championship, I have to be strong on the technical side. In terms of power and speed, I match other international wrestlers at present and playing in tournaments like Pro Wrestling League gives us a chance to train and compete against world’s best wrestlers. But we need more international tournaments and training camps abroad,” said Malik.
Post-Rio Olympics, Malik got married to fellow wrestler Satyawrat Kadian earlier this month and the pair competed in the Asian Championship. Kadian competes in 97 kg. “I am lucky that I have been married into a wrestling family. My father-in-law Satyavan Kadian is an Arjuna awardee wrestler and both me and Satyawrat train together at his akhara in Rohtak. We talk about techniques and Satyawrat has been a support when we compete in same championships,” said Malik.