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World medallist Nisha Dahiya dispels rumours about death

“It was very stressful. I spoke to my family and they too were a bit disturbed by the news. I assured them I was okay. A little later, I figured this was a case of mistaken identity,” she said.

By: Express News Service |
Updated: November 11, 2021 8:42:11 am
With Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik by her side, Nisha says in the video that she is in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh, for the senior national meet. (Screengrab)

Minutes after Nisha Dahiya finished her sparring session with Rio Olympics bronze medalist Sakshi Malik, she stepped off the mat and switched on her phone. “It was flooded with messages and missed calls,” she says. “I was sent my pictures with strange comments, people expressing sadness and condolences. It felt very strange.”

It was only after a while that Nisha realised the messages she received were because of a case of mistaken identity. A couple of hours earlier, it was reported that a wrestler named Nisha had been shot dead at an akhara in Sonepat, Haryana. Within minutes, the news went viral. Photos of Nisha Dahiya with her bronze medal at the recently-concluded U-23 World Championship started circulating and some prominent people expressed sadness.

It emerged later that the wrestler who was shot dead in Sonepat was named Nisha Yadav, and not Dahiya. But while the news of Nisha’s ‘death’ spread like wildfire, the wrestler was practicing in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh, for the National Championships which begin on Thursday.

“It was very stressful. I spoke to my family and they too were a bit disturbed by the news. I assured them I was okay. A little later, I figured this was a case of mistaken identity,” she told The Indian Express.

Sakshi, who too will be competing at the Nationals, took to Twitter to dispel the rumours around Nisha being shot. “She is alive,” Sakshi tweeted. Minutes later, Nisha released a video message, following advice from the Wrestling Federation of India.

Nisha frequently practices with Sakshi and on Wednesday, the wrestler, who won a medal at junior worlds in the 65kg weight class, was busy cutting her weight for her bout on Thursday. “My bout is scheduled tomorrow. As is the routine, today I am in the middle of cutting my weight so I haven’t eaten properly. The confusion hasn’t helped the process and preparation for the nationals,” Nisha said.

Sakshi Malik’s Instagram photo with Nisha Dahiya proclaiming “She is alive” (Instagram)

Nisha was one of the five Indian wrestlers who won a medal at the U-23 World Championship in Belgrade and on Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised her performance in a tweet.

The Nationals will assume significance for Nisha and other wrestlers as the medalists will get to compete in the selection trials for next year’s Commonwealth Games. However, the ‘stressful’ episode that took place in the evening has impacted the preparations, Nisha said. “I am still getting calls non-stop and it’s tough to focus on practice. Hopefully, I’ll be able to give it all on the mat tomorrow but I want to assure everyone, I am okay.”

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