Oly medals won by Sushil, Yogeshwar served as huge motivation: Sakshi

Rio Games bronze medallist Sakshi Malik has said that growing up she did not know what the Olympics were, and the desire to one day sit in an aeroplane fuelled her ambition to become successful in sport as it would help her travel across the world.

“I had been playing sports since I was a child but had little idea about the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. It was after I got into wrestling and started winning medals at a junior level that the interest in these events started going up,” Sakshi said on Wednesday.

“Later on, as Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt started winning medals including at the Olympics, it served as a huge motivation for me.

Speaking of her Olympic bronze and the iconic moment when her coach Kuldeep Malik took her around the wrestling arena on his shoulders, Sakshi said it took some time for her to realise what she achieved.

“When I reached that bronze medal match, I didn’t want to lose at the final hurdle. My coach kept telling me that you are better than her (opponent). It was a tough match and only at the very end was I able to win. I can’t explain in words what the feeling of winning was, I didn’t know whether to laugh or smile or cry.”

On the significance of her Olympic medal, she said, “My coach explained to me that my life will change after this medal but when I grow old, it is a precious memory that will always remain with me. I am very grateful for all the love the country has given me after I won the Olympic bronze.”

The Khel Ratna awardee made these comments while speaking at the wrestling session of E-Pathshala, the athlete and coach education program being conducted by the Sports Authority of India in association with the Wrestling Federation of India.

“This is a very good initiative by SAI and WFI. In these difficult times, when even we can’t train properly, with these sessions you can stay at home and learn a lot,” she said.