Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik apologised replying to the show cause notice issued by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). She was accused of leaving the camp without permission. Hence, she was barred from the camp for indiscipline. The same fate waited for as many as 25 campers who have also been expelled for the same offence. However, a recent report claims that she has been reinstated to the national camp at the SAI Centre in Lucknow.
Sakshi (62kg) alongside Seema Bisla (50kg) and Kiran (76kg) are prepping for the upcoming World Wrestling Championships. In a shocking turn of events, all three of them were among the 25 wrestlers who were suspended from the national camp by the WFI for the same reason.
“Sakshi said that she had gone home for the festival and admitted that she made a mistake by not taking due permission for it. Seema and Kiran also gave the same reasons. They have replied to the show cause notices and apologised. So now they are back in the camp,” he said.
WFI Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar on Monday told IANS that the reason all three wrestlers have given to the Federation was that they had gone home to celebrate the festival of Raksha Bandhan. “Sakshi said that she had gone home for the festival and admitted that she made a mistake by not taking due permission for it. Seema and Kiran also gave the same reasons. They have replied to the show cause notices and apologised. So now they are back in the camp,” he said.
On Saturday, 25 of the 45 wrestlers in the camp were barred by the WFI. They did not show up on August 16 after the Alexandre Medved event in Minsk, Belarus. But now they will be participating at the Worlds without any trouble further ahead from the federation.
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, Firstpost reported.
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.
“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.
The World Championships will be held in Kazakhstan from September 14 to 22.
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.”
Sakshi has also expressed her support for fellow wrestlers Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia who had criticised the state government on the issue of prize money. “In India, an athlete gets recognised only when he/she wins a medal at the big stage,” said Sakshi who had received multiple cash prizes and a land grant from the Haryana government after winning the bronze medal at Rio. “Now, they are even cutting down on the financial support awarded post the medal and other achievements.”