India Celebrates Wrestler Sakshi’s Olympic Medal  

Sakshi Malik after winning the medal.

New Delhi: The country, led by President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, celebrated the Olympic bronze Medal of wrestler Sakshi Malik at the ongoing Olympics games at Rio de Janerio.

Celebrations also took place at the home of Sakshi Malik on Thursday in Haryana’s Rohtak town after the gritty wrestler brought India its first medal in the current edition of the Olympics. For a state such as Haryana which has the worst sex ratio among all the states in the country (879 females against 1,000 males as per the 2011 census) and known for female foeticide, Sakshi has overcome a double barrier - getting a medal for the country and being the first woman in the wrestling field to do so. Neighbours, relatives, friends, fellow wrestlers, coaches, political leaders and many other people started converging on Sakshia’s home here after she clinched the bronze medal in Rio.

Reward of Rs 3 crore from Haryana government: Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar spoke to Sakshi’s parents, Sukhbir and Sudesh Malik, on phone and congratulated them. Sakshi will get a reward of Rs 3 crore from the Haryana government for her feat. The diminutive 23-year-old hailing from Mokhra village near Rohtak, achieved glory at the Rio Olympics on Wednesday night by bagging India’s first medal at the 31st Olympic Games. She clinched the bronze in the Women’s Freestyle 58kg category with a spirited comeback victory over Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan.

Sakshi Malik in action.

The young wrestler overturned a 0-5 deficit in a hectic second round to script an 8-5 victory in the medal bout at the Carioca Arena 2 here. “I have stood up to the hopes of the country for the first medal. I was confident that I can win in the end even being down. The last two hours were the most difficult for me thinking whether the medal will come or not,” she said in her initial comments soon after winning. “This is the first time that a medal has come for women. It’s a success of my 12 years of dedication. My hard work has succeeded,” Sakshi said. A total of 21 sportspersons from Haryana were part of the 100-strong Indian contingent which went to the Rio Olympics.

Sakshi’s Parents on Top of the World: Sakshi’s parents were on top of the world on their daughter winning Olympic glory. Brimming with pride at their daughter’s historic achievement at the Rio Olympics, female wrestler Sakshi Malik’s parents today urged all fathers to encourage their daughters, who wants to take up sports, saying the grappler’s feat should set an example for all. “When she won medals in Commonwealth game and Asian Champions, people who in the beginning used to criticise us came up to us and said your thoughts were very nice then,” a proud father Subir Malik said. “It is a joyous moment for all of us. We are proud of her and can’t express our happiness in words. When she comes to Rohtak I will get her posters displayed all over the city and then I will take her to the village,” he said.

Sakshi’s mother Sudesh Malik echoed similar sentiments. “There were many people who used to tell me in the beginning that she is a girl and why are you putting her in wrestling, there is too much hard work but I supported her. When she started getting medals people stopped speaking,” she said. “We are elated at her feat. She had promised me that she will get a medal for the country. She has done the country and us proud,” a visibly happy Sudesh Malik said.

Sporting Fraternity Greets Sakshi Malik: Several prominent sporting personalities wished Sakshi Malik on her bronze medal at the Rio Olympics. Cricketers Sachin Tedulkar, Virender Sehwag, VVS Lakshman and Anil Kumble were the prominent among them.

Appreciation from Indian Railways: India’s first medallist at the ongoing Rio Olympics, wrestler Sakshi Malik will be rewarded with a cash award of Rs 60 lakh by her employers Indian Railways for her bronze winning feat in women’s 58kg freestyle category. Sakshi is currently a senior clerk with Northern Railways. She will be promoted to the rank of a gazetted officer, the Railways said in a statement. The Indian Railways are planning a grand felicitation for Sakshi to celebrate her stupendous feat. The wrestling contingent will be back in India on August 23.

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