Sakshi Malik, the bronze medal winner in the Rio Olympics in 2016, said the country’s star wrestler Sushil Kumar has always been an inspiration for her and like him, she wanted to win two consecutive medals in the Olympics.
Talking to PTI on the sidelines of the ongoing National Wrestling Championship, Sakshi said, “Sushil has been a great inspiration for me. After seeing him playing, I used to think that I would also play Olympics and win a medal for the country.”
The 25-year-old freestyle wrestler said, “However, now I am also a winner of Olympic medal, but I have to be like him (Sushil Kumar)…I also want to create a record by winning medals twice in Olympic games.”
Sushil Kumar, who won Olympics bronze and silver medals respectively in Beijing in 2008 and at London in 2012, has returned to the ring through this national wrestling championship after a long gap of three years.
Sakshi said, “In my opinion, all senior players should participate in the national competitions. We remain close to the game and learn a lot through these competitions, which further benefits at the international level.”
“I participate in every small competition, because I do not want to go away from wrestling,” she said.
When asked about her preparations for the next Olympic games to be held in Tokyo in 2020, she said, “Time passes quickly. More than one year has passed since Rio. Now, countdown for the next Olympics has begun. So, there is a little pressure.
“But I repeat this resolve every day in my mind that I have to make good preparation for the next Olympics, so that I can change the colour of my medal.”
Sakshi expressed satisfaction over the facilities available to the wrestlers in the country for preparing the international events.
“The facilities for the wrestlers in the country have improved due to efforts of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI),” she said.
While replying to a question, Sakshi, however, emphasised that players of every game should be given facilities.
“It should not happen that wrestling should be given less importance than cricket or badminton should get less importance than table tennis. All the games and players should be given equal importance,” the wrestler said.