“I’d like a biopic on my life,” Sakshi Malik had said in 2016. She had won an Olympic bronze medal in the 58 kg category a few weeks before, becoming the latest in a long line of Indian wrestlers that had brought laurels to the country.
Whether that biopic ever gets made or not depends to a large extent on what else Malik goes on to achieve in her career. The 2018 Asian Games, in some sense, will be a litmus test for the grappler who has been criticised by many for under-performing since her Olympic bronze. At the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast this year, Malik won bronze much to her own disappointment. “I wasn’t very happy with the bronze (at CWG 2018) because I had won a silver in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and had hoped for a gold this time around. I had defeated the eventual gold medallist (Adeneyi) by a 10-2 margin just two months before the Gold Coast event, but I ended up losing to her later in April,” Malik told Firstpost.
Not one to fret over disappointments, Malik did what she thought was the best – returning to training. But this time around she had the services of a psychologist in her arsenal. “It has helped me get mentally stronger,” the 25 year old says. What’s also different this time around for the Rohtak girl is the weight category she will be fighting in – 62 kg in place of the 58 kg in Gold Coast. She won a bronze in her new weight category at the Asian Championships in Bishkek, Kyrgystan, earlier this year. But at the Yasar Dogu International in Istanbul in July, the Indian failed to make it to the medal round.
“I’ve learnt a lot from that loss,’ she says. “My dream on winning gold is still unfulfilled, but I’ll try to give my best at the Asian Games.” In the way of those dreams will be Mongolia’s Purevdorjiin Orkhon, the current world champion. Malik had in fact beaten her in the 58 kg category in Rio.
(Sakshi Malik will be in action at the 2018 Asian Games on 20th August (Monday).