Won bronze for India by Sakshi Mallik

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Won bronze for India by Sakshi Mallik


Sakshi Malik has achieved the unimaginable despite tremendous odds. Malik has won India's very first medal in women’s wrestling and made her nation proud. At the 2016 Rio Olympics which is currently underway, she garnered the bronze medal in the 58 kg class. This is not the first occasion when Malik has won medals for India. She has won some laurels for the country in quite a few top tournaments on a national and international level. By winning a medal at the Olympics, she has created history and has taken the sport to a whole new level. Garnering a medal by beating the world’s elite wrestlers at the world’s greatest sporting event is the most astounding accomplishment for a sportsperson. Malik has done this decisively.

Humble origins

Sakshi Malik's folks originate from Haryana, an Indian state. Essentially an agrarian state, wrestling is a hugely popular sport there. Malik was born in a village in Rohtak on September 3, 1992. Her dad Sukhbir Malik is a government worker while her mom Sudesh is employed with the Delhi Transport Corporation. Her folks never lamented her being a girl who is inconsistent in a state that effectively discriminates against womenfolk.

Malik joined an "akhara" or a training academy which provides its member's training with boarding and lodging at the tender age of 12. Budding wrestlers enlist into akharas where they learn the craft of wrestling from specialists. For Sakshi Malik, age and gender were not a constraint to learning the art of wrestling, which by tradition has been a male dominated sport in India.


Against overwhelming odds

                                                                              
Training and performing as a wrestler in Rohtak were not a cakewalk for Malik. She and her mentor confronted strong opposition from the local people who stood against them for choosing a sport that was not appropriate for women. Nonetheless, Malik's folks stood with her and that motivated Malik to train harder and focus on just one goal, to be the best in wrestling and show the world that a woman can be a winner.

Her commitment to reach her goal combined with countless hours of intense training and perseverance finally paid off. In 2010, at the World Junior Championship, Malik won bronze in the 58 kg freestyle category. At the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Malik won a silver medal. At the Asian Wrestling Championship held in Doha in 2015, Malik won a bronze medal.

Reason for Celebration
                                                                         
The majority of the 1.5 billion people in India had not heard of Malik when she got qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. But now after the bronze medal, the whole nation is praising her terrific accomplishment. However, the people who are celebrating the achievement more than anyone else are her parents who had supported their daughter through tremendous odds. The entire family and the residents of her village are celebrating the occasion with pomp and show as news of her triumph has gone viral. Her dad is astounded and speechless and her mom is exceptionally glad that Malik has made her country proud by ending India’s drought of Olympic medals.

A new chapter dawns
                                                                              
Presently accolades, gifts and prizes are being showered on Sakshi Malik. The Government of Indian and other entities have declared money grants for Malik to acknowledgment her accomplishment. People have started to enquire about her and specifically Malik's age. She is only 23, in her prime, with many more years of active wrestling, more medals, awards, achievements and many more milestones to reach. She has just scratched the surface. In a nation crazed with just cricket, it is extremely hard to pursue and get recognized in other sports. This scenario could change for the better with Malik’s achievement.

As we have already witnessed, a solitary sportsperson by her individual accomplishments can motivate a new generation to pursue a sport with their heart and soul. We have seen it happen in sports like badminton, tennis and weightlifting in India. In all probability, it might now happen in the world of women’s wrestling. After all, its that spark of hope which kept Sakshi Malik going inspires us to follow her shining example.
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