What’s the story?
The reigning world cadet champion Sonam Malik outclassed Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik in the re-trials for the second time in a row in Lucknow to qualify for the Asian Olympic Qualifiers that are to be held in March-end. Meanwhile, Sakshi Malik’s Tokyo Olympic dream comes to an end.
In case you did not know
Two-time world cadet champion Sonam Malik had defeated the Rio Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik in the 62 kg freestyle category at the WFI trials in January. Sakshi was unable to win a medal at the Asian Wrestling Championships, which compelled the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) to conduct a fresh trial for the Asian Olympic qualifiers.
The heart of the matter
18-year-old Sonam Malik won by fall against Sakshi Malik, thereby booking her berth in the Indian team for the Olympic Qualifiers, which are to be held from March 27-29 in Bishkesh, Kyrgyzstan.
Sonam, who could not perform very well at the Rome Ranking Series event and in the recently finished Asian Championships, was asked to re-appear for trials in the 62 kg category, and she won the challenge in style.
The Haryana born reigning world cadet champion is being coached by Ajmer Malik and undergoes training at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Sports Institute at Madina (Sonepat). Ajmer Malik was quoted as saying to The Times of India,
"Beating Sakshi by fall is a big achievement for this youngster. Sonam tired her out. And this was despite an elbow injury she had suffered during the Rome event and had not recovered completely. She even had not trained well."
He further added that the good showing will boost Sonam's morale
"The girls who were in the upper weight categories would have thought they will be able to dominate Sonam because she is young and inexperienced. I had told her that coming out winner in a competitive group like this would be huge and she has made us proud."
It will now be interesting to see if Sonam can prove her mettle at the Asian Olympic Qualifiers and eventually emerge as a medal-winner at the upcoming quadrennial event as expectations are high from the young wrestler to secure an Olympic medal.
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