Anshu Malik’s father Dharamvir’s phone has not stopped ringing ever since his daughter created history at the wrestling world championships on Wednesday. The 20-year-old became the first Indian woman wrestler to qualify for the worlds final.
Anshu Malik outclassed junior European champion Solomiia Vynnyk in the semifinal to win by technical superiority in the 57kg weight category. Her win has ensured India’s first medal since this edition of the event.
In an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda, her father said:
“I am very proud of her. She has completed my dream. She fought like a brave heart. It was tough for her after the Olympics disappointment. But she came out on the top.”
Anshu Malik entered the world championships after a disappointing Tokyo Olympics outing. The 19-year-old wrestler carried an elbow injury and competed all her bouts with heavy taping on her left elbow.
She was clever with her moves in the semifinal. She affected three take-down moves from the left on Vynnnyk and finished the bout with an exposure move. The Nidani wrestler started competing at the senior level in 2020. Since her debut – at the Matteo Pellicone Ranking Series – she has been one of the promising wrestlers.
Anshu Malik has medaled in all competitions except the Olympics. Dharamvir said the poor show in Tokyo had changed the young wrestler completely. She was mature, he added, and even more determined to bounce back.
“After the Olympics, she was very sad. When she returned she was very disappointed with her performance. But she overcame all that and was even more determined to go out their and win,” Dharamvir said.
On why Anshu Malik decided to compete at the World Championships despite an elbow injury, he said:
“We knew it will be a risk but we decided to take it since this was the last major competition this year. So, all we thought was to reach the finals and we have done it.”
Anshu Malik is the sixth Indian wrestler overall to enter the World Championships final. Others are Bishamber Singh (1967), Sushil Kumar (2010), Amit Dahiya (2013), Bajrang Punia (2018) and Deepak Punia (2019).
Earlier, she was hardly troubled by Kazakhstan’s Nilufar Raimova, who she beat by technical superiority. Later she outwitted Mongolia’s Davaachimeg Erkhembayar 5-1 in the quarterfinals.
Anshu Malik will now face two-time Olympic medalist Helen Maroulis in the gold medal bout on Thursday.