The medal belongs to the entire country: Sakshi Malik

won the hearts of everyone with her honest words as she interacted with the media soon after making the whole country happy with that precious piece of metal that everyone covets but few get.

Sakshi Malik of India celebrates with her coach after winning the bronze medal.

“I dedicate this medal to all the people who have supported me all along. My parents, my coaches, my trainers, training partners and everyone who has been part of my journey. This success and medal belongs to them all. It belongs to the whole country,” said Sakshi with admirable clarity.

A strong streak of self-belief was evident in the manner she fought till the end and for Indian athletes, who are often criticised for being slack at the crunch, this was indeed a turning point.

“In real life I am not aggressive. But in wrestling, I am totally aggressive. In a wrestling match, anything can happen, any time. I always believed that I would win somehow. If I lasted six minutes of the bout, I knew I would find my way to victory,” said Sakshi.

She accepted that after the knock-out phase earlier in the day, there were a lot of thoughts about “medal or no medal” during the time shewaited for the repechage to start.

“I was sure that I would win the first medal for India. I had total faith in my ability and coach sir kept telling me that you are strong and the medal is yours,” recalled Sakshi.

“In the last three minutes I had to give my best. You cannot do anything afterwards,” said Sakshi, quite happy that she did not hold back anything, at the moment of reckoning.

She was honest in revealing that even after receiving the medal, the whole feeling of having won it was yet to sink. “If I had missed the medal, I would have felt the pain hard. But, I have the medal,” she said.

Sakshi was grateful to the coach for all the encouragements. “Coach sir kept encouraging me and said that had I not made the small mistakes, I could have won the bout that I had lost,” Sakshi recalled.

From the troubled start, when people objected to her training with the boys to winning the acclaim of everyone, Sakshi has come a long way, instilling a lot more confidence in the girls.

“I just want to tell the people, please believe in the girls. We can do anything and everything, ” said Sakshi.

She also hoped that her Olympic medal would pave the way for a lot more achievements in the sport by the girls.

Sakshi also revealed that her resolve to win became stronger after Vinesh was injured during her quarterfinals and was crying in pain while being taken away in a stretcher.

“My mind was distracted at what happened to Vinesh. We both wanted to do well. She was capable of winning the medal. I thought that everything came to me and it was my responsibility to win that medal,” said Sakshi.