Sonam Malik’s father, coach Ajmer delighted with Tokyo Olympics qualification
- Father Rajinder and coach Ajmer see the teenager achieving their own unfulfilled Olympic wrestling dreams
The Malik family in Madina village, Sonipat spent a sleepless night ahead of teenager Sonam Malik’s bouts in the Asian Olympic Qualifier wrestling in Tashkent on Saturday.
Sonam’s father Rajinder Malik and her coach Ajmer Malik woke up early on Saturday and offered prayers after finishing their morning work. They then kept an eye on the clock as Sonam’s bout was due to start soon.
Rajinder, wife Meena and a few of their neighbours watched the bout at home while Ajmer and his trainees were glued to their mobile screens on the roof of the Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Sports Complex, a few yards away from Sonam’s house.
In the first two 62kg bouts, Sonam had contrasting wins, against Chinese Jia Long (5-2) and Taipei’s Hsin Ping Pai (11-0). They were really excited as the double world cadet championships gold medalist and national champion took on Kazak rival Ayaulym Kassymova in the semi-final.
“I couldn’t resist joining Ajmer at his academy as I wanted to celebrate Sonam’s success with my childhood friend who has played a great role in my daughter’s achievement. It was he (Ajmer) who took the coaching assignment of Sonam on my request and we both have been living with the mission of Sonam’s entry into Olympics,” an emotional Rajinder said.
“It’s just another step of Sonam towards the biggest success and we hope our guriya will surely bring success for India at the Tokyo Games,” he said. “It’s a dream come true for us, we spent the entire Friday night praying to God for Sonam’s success. For us, it’s Holi today.”
Ajmer was all praise for Sonam and Anshu Malik (57 kg), who also qualified. He said the success of the two wrestlers at the Asian Olympic Qualifying on Saturday was an occasion to celebrate in Haryana and across the country.
“Even when she (Sonam) was trailing in the first three minutes I was sure of her winning against the Kazak rival, who was tired and a bit slow. That made a lot of difference to Sonam, who knew well when to attack and when to defend,” said Ajmer.
“Within minutes of qualifying, Sonam called me, in joy and almost in tears. I just told her “well done! Guriya” and encouraged her to finish the final bout also in similar fashion. Sonam’s success is proof of our belief that her wins against Sakshi Malik in the trials were not a fluke and they were all the result of Sonam’s hard work.”
Lucknow’s Sports Authority of India centre was also celebrating.
“It’s really a great moment for all of us at the centre here and we are happy that both the campers here have made it to the Tokyo Olympics,” SAI executive director, Sanjay Saraswat, said.