Who is Sakshi Malik, the wrestler who fought battles on and off the mat?
Olympic bronze medalist Sakshi Malik, a true pioneer in Indian women's wrestling, not only etched her name in history as the first Indian female wrestler to secure a medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics but also became an influential figure, reshaping perceptions for generations to come.
Olympic bronze medalist Sakshi Malik stands out as a trailblazer in multiple dimensions. Beyond being the first Indian female wrestler to secure a medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics, she reshaped perceptions and emerged as an inspirational figure for succeeding generations of female wrestlers.
The achievement of the bronze medal at the Olympics marked the pinnacle of a series of remarkable accomplishments that defined her illustrious wrestling career.
Sakshi Malik, born on September 3, 1992, in the village of Mokhra in Haryana's Rohtak district, drew inspiration from her grandfather Subir Malik, himself a seasoned wrestler. Motivated by his legacy, Sakshi Malik ventured into the sport that would ultimately define her journey.
Commencing her training under the guidance of Ishwar Dahiya at the age of 12, Sakshi Malik quickly exhibited promise. Five years into her wrestling journey, she earned her initial taste of success by securing a silver medal in the 2009 Asian Junior World Championships in the 59kg freestyle category, followed by a bronze at the 2010 World Junior Championships.
Following her bronze triumph at the 2013 Commonwealth Championships, Sakshi Malik ventured into her debut Commonwealth Games in Glasgow the subsequent year. Despite stumbling in the 58kg final against Nigeria’s Aminat Adeniyi, she clinched a silver medal. Her second and final Commonwealth Games medal came in 2018, where she secured a bronze in the 62kg category, further solidifying her position as a formidable force in women's wrestling.
Following the election of Sanjay Singh, a trusted associate of Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, as the head of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), veteran wrestler Sakshi Malik emotionally expressed, "If a business partner and confidant of Brij Bhushan Singh is chosen as the president of WFI, I will step away from wrestling." The wrestler has officially retired from professional wrestling.