For Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik even a trial match is very important as she doesn’t leave anything to chance when she takes on rival on the mat.
It was a special occasion for Sakshi on Friday when she stepped on the mat against Manju Kumari at the Sports Authority of India’s centre here. Before anyone could think of some resistance from Manju, the diminutive ace wrestler won the bout 10-0.
In fact, Friday’s trials were meant for the juniors but the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chose to conduct a separate trial for Sakshi for the upcoming Asian Championship since she had skipped the mandatory trials on March 30-31 due to her wedding. The Asian Championship will be held in New Delhi from May 10-14.
“She (Sakshi) is well prepared and we are hopeful of her winning a gold medal at the Asian Wrestling Championships, starting next week in New Delhi,” coach Sahil Sharma told HT soon after Sakshi made it to the eight-member squad for the event.
“She (Sakshi) was in her usual nick and didn’t show any mercy against the rivals as she wants to show the world that she is well prepared to face the challenges one-by-one till the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” said Sharma. “Even before getting married in Rohtak on April 2, she was focused on her training at the camp here.”
Sakshi’s trial match was inspirational for the 40-odd juniors who witnessed her bout. “She (Sakshi) has become a role model for all of us as she has boosted our confidence for success at the world level, and I believe that even her bronze medal has given new heights to women wrestling in India,” said junior wrestler Ankita Rani.
Sakshi, who is married to fellow wrestler and 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Satyawrat Kadian, cut short her honeymoon trip and came back for training. “She skipped the training only for a week and it shows how sincere she is towards the game,” said the coach.
After Rio Olympic Games, Sakshi participated in the domestic wrestling league in January. However, the Asian Championship will be her first major competition since August. The Haryana grappler is focusing on the 2018 season which has two major events— the Commonwealth Games in Australia and the Asian Games in Indonesia.