Not the one to fret over defeats wrestler Sakshi Malik is working hard on how to close the deal on the mat, something which has emerged as her achilles heel this season.
Sakshi suffered a spate of disappointing results all year. At the Commonwealth Games she went down in the first round but managed to win a bronze via repechage.
The Rohtak wrestler picked up another bronze in the Asian Championships but crashed out of the Yasar Dogu International before reaching the medal round.
The bad form continued at the Asian Games where Sakshi returned empty-handed before suffering a humiliating exit from the World Championship.
“I analyse all my bouts irrespective of whether I am winning or losing. I look at my mistakes, where I lost the point and try and figure out how to rectify it. According to my weight I have good power, wrestling is a combination of power and technique. You can’t rely on just one thing, you have to have both,” Sakshi told PTI.
The Rio Olympics bronze medallist has lost most of her bouts this year, including her CWG and Asian Games exits, in the dying moments.
“I am working really hard on how to keep my calm towards the end of my bouts. The last few seconds are very important. I am losing matches towards the end. I have to keep myself focused.”
Under the scanner by the national federation, Sakshi was offered a Grade B contract — which offers a financial support of Rs 20 lakh for one year, but the 26-year-old is not bothered by it.
“I don’t feel any pressure. Pay grade is based on performance and I am not doing well at the moment so I have been moved down. Once I start doing well I will be shifted back. The grades depend on the medals,” she said amidst reports she will be upgraded to Grade A.
Asked how she keeps herself motivated despite grappling with so many disappointments, Sakshi says it’s her love for wrestling the helps her power on.
“An athlete’s life is full of ups and downs sometimes we win sometimes we lose. I always keep on thinking I have to perform well ahead. I love wrestling and that keeps me motivated to go ahead.”
The Rio Olympics bronze medallist, who managed to salvage her pride by ending the year with a gold at the nationals without losing a single point, is already gearing up for the new season.
“Right now my aim is to qualify for the 2019 World Championships. I will also be taking part in the Pro Wrestling League (PWL).”
Talking about the PWL, which will be telecast on Sony Pictures Network India, Sakshi said the leagues provide Indian wrestlers an exposure to the international wrestlers and help boost confidence.
“The league helps us a lot because of the participation of good international wrestlers. We get to grapple with them. We learn a lot from them during training. Our confidence is also boosted when we beat them,” she said.