Wrestler Sakshi Malik ends India's medal drought at Rio
After ending India's agonising wait for an Olympic medal at the Rio Games with a bronze medal, Indian women wrestler Sakshi Malik said it was the result of her 12 years of persistent hard work. Sakshi today scripted history by becoming the first woman wrestler from India to bag an Olympic medal and only fourth female athlete from the country to climb to the podium at the biggest sporting event.
Sakshi Malik beat Kyrgystan's Aisuluu Tynybekova 8-5 in a thrilling match.
Sakshi clinched the bronze in the Women’s Freestyle 58kg category with a spirited comeback victory over Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan.
Sakshi Malik became the fourth Indian woman athlete to win an Olympics medal after Karnam Malleshwari, Mary Kom and Saina Nehwal.
Coach Ishwar Singh Dahiya still remembers the day when a 10-year-old Sakshi Malik accompanied her mother Sudesh Malik to the Sir Chotu Ram Stadium Wrestling Academy in Rohtak.
Sakshi had lost 2-9 in the quarter-finals to Russia's Valeriia Koblova in the fifth bout of the day before getting a second chance in repechage when her conqueror reached the final.
An emotional Sakshi recalled years of sweat and hardwork even as she soaked in the adulation and wild celebrations among the Indian supporters.
"This is the first time that a medal has come for women. It's a success of my 12 years of dedication. My hard work has succeeded," Sakshi said.
Sakshi staged a historic comeback after trailing 0-5 in the initial period.
Sakshi, who qualified through second Olympic Games World Qualifying Tournament in Istanbul, battled social biases and sexism to learn wrestling. She took up the sport when she was just nine years old.