Sakshi Malik at Rio: How the Haryana girl fought bias and sexism to win Olympic Bronze

By: | Updated: August 18, 2016 11:56 AM

12 years of single minded aim towards the Olympics medal; many bouts and medals from all over the world later, Sakshi Malik became an Indian hero on Wednesday when she scripted history by becoming the first woman wrestler from India to bag an Olympic medal.

rio olympics india, sakshi malik, sakshi malik rio, sakshi malik wrestler, sakshi malik bronze, rio olympics, rio olympics 2016, rio 2016 india, rio indiaSakshi Malik’s bronze is India’s fifth wrestling medal in Olympic history, altogether, India’s 25th medal. (Photo: Reuters)

12 years of single minded aim towards the Olympics medal; many bouts and medals from all over the world later, Sakshi Malik became an Indian hero on Wednesday when she scripted history by becoming the first woman wrestler from India to bag an Olympic medal. She is the fourth female athlete from to win any medal in all of Olympic history. Her bronze is India’s fifth wrestling medal in Olympic history, altogether, India’s 25th medal. She won the medal ahead of Vinesh Phogat who was India’s first qualification for the Indian women’s wrestling contingent.

She has now scripted her name alongside great female atheletes from India, like Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal and Karnam Malleswari. MC Mary Kom (Boxing, London, 2012), Saina Nehwal (Badminton, London, 2012), and Karnam Malleshwari (Weightlifting, Sydney, 2000) and were the only other women players from India to have won a medal in Olympics. “I never thought I would become the first woman wrestler from India to bag an Olympic medal in wrestling. I hope the remaining wrestlers will also do well,” Sakshi said.

WATCH: Rio Olympics: Wrestler Sakshi Malik wins bronze for India

Born on September 3, 1992, in Rohtak, Haryana, 23-year-old Malik, in 2014, had won a silver medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and a bronze Incheon Asian Games. Hailing from Mokhra village, where wrestling is a sport for ‘boys’, Malik began her training in wrestling when she was around 10. Battling social biases and sexism, she was guided by Ishwar Dahiya at a Chotu ram stadium akhara. Many locals had protested even as Sakshi kept fighting and practicing with the boys. After the win she said, “Congratulations to my country mates, I could live up to their reputation.”

When she was 18, she had already won a bronze medal at the 2010 Junior World Championships in the 59 kg category. But she came to the limelight when in 2014she won the Gold at the Dave Schultz International Wrestling Tournament in the 60 kg category. She became a professional internationally after she won a silver medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. After winning two 4-0 bouts, she considered that as her favourite medal. Though she lost in the Quarterfinal rounds at the World Wrestling Championships in Tashkent in 2014, she won bronze at the Senior Asian Wrestling Championships in Doha in 2015.

In the Olympics Qualifiers, she won bronze after defeating Lan Zhang from China in the semifinal at Istanbul. Last month she also won the Bronze at Spanish Grand Prix in the 60 kg category.

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