Against all odds: Sakshi Malik becomes first Indian woman wrestler to win an Olympic medal

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"To those who told me I am a girl and I could not wrestle, I want to say please show some trust in girls, they can do everything."

History was created at the Rio Olympics on Wednesday by none other than an Indian woman wrestler, hailing from the state of Haryana that is known for its high cases of female foeticide.

23-year-old Sakshi Malik, from the Mokhra village near Rohtak in Haryana, not only won the first wrestling medal for India by a woman, she also ended India's medal drought at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She is also the fourth female athlete from the country to get a medal at the biggest sporting event in the world.

Sakshi, a silver medallist at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and bronze winner at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, defeated Kyrgysztan's Aisuluu Tynybekova to script history.

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"I have stood up to the hopes of the country for the first medal. I was confident that I can win in the end even being down. The last two hours were the most difficult for me thinking whether the medal will come or not. This is the first time that a medal has come for women. It's a success of my 12 years of dedication. My hard work has succeeded," said Sakshi as she spoke to the media.

"To those who told me I am a girl and I could not wrestle, I want to say please show some trust in girls, they can do everything," she said.

A proud Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted about Sakshi and said that on the day of Raksha Bandhan, it is so wonderful to see an Indian daughter create history. Here's what his reaction was on Twitter:

Sakshi later spoke at a press conference on how she battled pain to win the medal. "After the medal all the pain has gone. If I had missed the medal, all the aches would have shown up," she said beaming.

"I was confident till the end that the medal was there and I told myself, you have to fight. That's why I attacked again and again succeeding after a lot of effort," she said, adding that the medal was dedicated to "every person who helped me along, my parents, my coaches and my training partners."

Watch how Sakshi's family reacted when she won the bronze at Rio Olympics!

Weight-lifter Karnam Malleshwari was the first Indian to win an Olympic medal for India when she won a bronze at the 2000 Sydney Games. Boxer MC Mary Kom and shuttler Saina Nehwal had won a bronze each at the 2012 London Games. Overall, Sakshi has won India's fifth wrestling medal in the Olympic Games.

KD Jadhav was the first wrestler from India to win a medal in Olympics with his bronze at the 1952 Helsinki Games.

Sushil Kumar bagged the second wrestling bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Games before clinching a silver at the London Games where Yogeshwar Dutt also pocketed a bronze.

It is India's 25th medal in Olympic Games. Sakshi's overjoyed family was in tears when they saw their daughter win her first Olympic medal. Watch this video to see how her family reacted to her historic win.

 

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[Images courtesy: theindianexpress.com]