Showing extraordinary fighting spirit, woman wrestler Sakshi Malik ended India’s frustrating medal drought with a dramatic bronze-winning effort on the day 12 of the Rio Olympic Games.
The 23-year-old from Haryana, scripted history by becoming the first woman wrestler from India to bag an Olympic medal and only fourth female athlete from the country to climb to the podium at the Rio Games
Sakshi’s victory brought cheers to the Indian contingent that had endured agonising 11 days without a medal as she became the first Indian female wrestler to win an Olympics medal after beating Kyrgyzstan’s Aisuluu Tyny-bekova 8-5 in a thrilling match.
“I am very happy that I lived up to the expectations of people. This is the best feeling yet. I was positive and hopeful till the last moment. I am dedicating this medal to everyone who supported me,” Sakshi said after scripting history.
On Wednesday, Sakshi ended the country’s painful wait for a medal at the Rio Olympic Games by clinching the bronze in the 58kg category, pulling off a sensational 8-5 victory over her rival in the play-off bout.
The 23-year-old from Rohtak became only the fourth woman athlete from India to win an Olympic medal as she earned the dramatic win after falling behind 0-5 in the do-or-die bout on day 12.
Sakshi fought five bruising battles in the 58kg category against equally determined opponents in a single day before securing the podium place.
She had lost her quarterfinal bout but got a fresh lease of life when her Russian conqueror reached the final, allowing the Indian to compete in the repechage round.
Malik reached the Repechage rounds of the women’s freestyle 58kg event and made most of the second life as she outplayed Mongolian wrestler Orkhon in the Rd 2 contest 12-3 to advance to the bronze-medal match.
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi today congratulated female wrestler Sakshi Malik for winning a bronze medal in the Rio Olympics, saying that she has done the country proud with her historic feat.
“Hearty Congratulations to #SakshiMalik for winning a medal in women’s wrestling in #Rio2016 and doing India proud,” President Mukherjee said in his official Twitter handle.
PM Modi described Sakshi’s bronze winning performance as a gift to the country on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan and said her feat will inspire the country’s sportspersons.
“On this very auspicious day of Raksha Bandhan, Sakshi Malik, a daughter of India, wins a Bronze & makes all of us very proud,” Modi said in a tweet.
Haryana government has already announced a 3 crore rupee prise money for the bronze medallist for her courageous victory at Rio.
Sakshi was a silver medallist at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and bronze winner at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games earned a dramatic come-from-behind win over Kyrgysztan’s Aisuluu Tynybekova to script history.