On Sunday, Indian wrestlers dominated the 13th South Asian Games in Kathmandu with gold medals in all the 12 categories on day three of wrestling competitions. Of all, Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik led the charge to the top podium finish in the 62kg category with 10-0. Sakshi notched up all her matches, knocked her opponents down at the on-going SAG in Kathmandu on Sunday.

 Key Takeaways:

  • Swimmers and wrestlers continued their domination at the South Asian Games on Sunday with Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik finishing top in the 62kg category with a gold medal
  • India’s total medal count stood at 252 (132 gold, 79 silver, 41 bronze), leaving behind hosts Nepal and Sri Lanka behind. Nepal has won 165 medals (45 gold, 44 silver, 76 bronze) while Sri Lanka has collected 197 medals (36 gold, 68 silver, 93 bronze).
  • Swimmers picked up as many as seven gold, two silver and two bronze while the wrestlers clinched all the four yellow metals
  • Handball players added one gold by winning the women’s event
  • In fencing also, India picked up gold on offer by finishing on top of the podium in the team events of women’s foil.
  • Indians won the 50m backstroke women’s event while the 4x200m freestyle relay women’s teams also picked up gold metal.

Anshu (women’s 59kg) also won gold. A total of eight Indian boxers have sealed their final places, and will now have a total of 15 boxers aiming for the gold medal.

Target Tokyo

Sakshi now hopes to change the colour of her medal at the Tokyo Olympics next year. “The preparations are all in place. I’ve just returned from training camps in Spain and Italy where there’s ample exposure since you find sparring partners with different styles and techniques,” said Sakshi earlier, Firstpost reported.

READ: Asian Games 2018: IOA Says No To Sarees for Indian Women Athletes

Malik is a silver medallist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and the bronze medal winner at the 2015 Asian Wrestling Championships in Doha. At the Rio Olympics, she became the first Indian woman wrestler to win a medal. In 2017, she bagged gold at the Commonwealth World Championships but was knocked out in the first round of the World Wrestling Championship. Malik had been away from the podium for a while now. She couldn’t make a mark in CWG either.

Changing attitude towards sports

“Today, I wish there’s more done for the junior wrestlers coming up the ranks so that they can purchase a wrestling kit, better shoes and start training on the wrestling mats, moving away from the akhadas,” said Sakshi. She also pointed out that her medal drew attention and even changed their attitude towards the sport. “There’s been a very visible change in terms of the infrastructure. That has inspired parents to send their daughters for training in wrestling. The numbers have increased so much that the trainers are conducting several sessions with multiple time-slots for different age categories,” she added.

Sakshi believes it will be a great opportunity to prove her mettle now that just a year to go for the Tokyo Olympics. “I am trying to not clutter my mind with thoughts of losing and go for the kill even if I’m ahead on points,” said Sakshi.

“When you play the entire six minutes in a bout with a single-minded intent to attack and gather points, there’s no confusion there and you can play to your strengths.”

Also Read: Don’t let the bronze change the colour of your heart: Mary Kom to Sakshi Malik

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