Olympic bronze medal winning wrestler Sakshi Malik arrived here this morning to a grand welcome amid scenes of jubilation and loud cheers from scores of people at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
Sakshi was greeted by her parents and relatives at the airport after she touched down in the Capital at the wee hours.
Displaying the bronze medal, she waved to the cheering crowds.
“I want to thank each and everyone for such a warm welcome. so happy to see so many people cheering for me. I also want to thanks all those who prayed for me, which helped me win the medal for my country,” Sakshi said upon her arrival.
“It was my dream to win an Olympic medal and I worked really hard for that. Now that I have won it, it seems as if I am living my dream,” she added.
The 23-year-old was elated to see her family at the airport after a long time.
“As I hugged my father and showed him my medal, tears rolled down his cheeks. My family was very emotional and they were very happy to see me. Some were getting emotional and some were smiling. I was really happy,” she said.
Sakshi thanked her parents, coaches and fellow wrestlers for inspiring and supporting her.
“My coaches and my parents really helped me achieve my dream. My seniors like Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt also inspired me a lot and I learnt a lot from them.”
Asked if she was finally out of the shadow of more fancied Geeta Phogat, who also fights in the same 58kg category as her, Sakshi said: “When she became the first woman wrestler to qualify for the Olympics, I thought I could also do it. In fact, I felt that why just one category, more categories in women could also qualify. So, she has also inspired me and contributed to my success.”
She said it was a proud moment for her to become the flag-bearer for India.
“I had always thought of winning an Olympic medal but becoming a flag-bearer for my country was unbelievable. It was such a proud moment for me that I was chosen to be the flag-bearer for my country,” said Sakshi.
She also expressed jubilation at getting the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, which will be presented to her on August 29 at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.