Wrestling coach Ishwar Chand Dahiya recalls being impressed with Sakshi Malik

Wrestling coach Ishwar Chand Dahiya recalls being impressed with Sakshi Malik’s strong physique and sincerity when she joined his academy in Rohtak in 2004.

“Shakshi was one of the first students to join my academy. She was well-built and was regular at the training sessions,” Dahiya said when The Hindu contacted him in the context of his pupil winning a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics. “She was a very good student . She picked up things very promptly and that fast-tracked her progress.”

In the 58kg, life was not easy for Sakshi as Geeta Phogat was the queen of the category.

Sakshi got her chance at the 2014 CWG due to an injury to Geeta. The youngster landed a silver medal.

“She grabbed the opportunity with both hands,” said Dahiya.

The Pro Wrestling League was another confidence-booster for Sakshi, who turned out for Mumbai Garuda.

“I told her that she had been hired to beat Geeta and she said, ‘I will try’”, said Dahiya. “I told her nobody has ever won by saying ‘I will try’. You have to believe in yourself.”

Sakshi went on to upset Geeta in the PWL.

“I always believed that she was capable of an Olympic medal. Now I am sure she can achieve even better results,” said Dahiya.