India finally fetched its first medal — a bronze at the Rio Olympics. Sakshi Malik is an Indian freestyle wrestler. She won the bronze medal in the 58 kg category, becoming the first Indian female wrestler to win a medal at the Olympics.
It was this refreshing way of thinking that finally worked in her favour as she fought five bouts in the 58-kg freestyle category and came back from trailing margins in almost all, to win India its first bronze. India has now never lost a repechage bout — when the pressure is off, Indians go out freely and fight their best was the neatest conclusion from it all. “Even when I was trailing, I knew I would win,” she says.
Ask her if the medal opens up doors for big police postings and high-status paraphernalia that Haryana’s sporting successes usually lead to, and she talks about going deeper into a happy shell. “Mujhe aisi job chahiye jahan shanti ho (I want a job in which there is peace),” she says. She’s worked hard for 12 years and wants a calm post-sporting life, though she is focussed on another go in Tokyo 2020.
Her grandfather wrestled briefly, she read about the sport in papers, and then Geeta Phogat went to the 2012 Games.
Sakshi is aware she is a Haryana daughter, with all the accompanying presumptions. “I think I realise the Haryana significance because my family never stopped me from doing what I wanted to,” she says.