It’s not every day that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulates you and calls you “The Daughter of India”.

fciwomenswrestling.com article, www.newsflash.org photo

fciwomenswrestling.com article, www.newsflash.org photo

That could be a little intimidating.

Given the 2016 Olympic Bronze Medal winner Sakshi Malik’s incredible accomplishment, that’s understandable that she receives that once in a lifetime call.

 

fciwomenswrestling.com article, Oneindia photo credit

fciwomenswrestling.com article, Oneindia photo credit

Perhaps it’s even to be expected when you’ve accomplished something that not only is not done every day, but has never been done in any days previous.

Ever.

After a nail biting and grinding performance at the 58kg women’s wrestling category, Sakshi won the bronze, becoming the first Indian female wrestler ever to win an Olympic medal.

As reported by the respected global news source, timesofindia.indiatimes.com, “Gritty woman wrestler Sakshi Malik ended India’s painful wait for a medal at the Rio Olympic Games by clinching the bronze in the 58kg category, pulling off a sensational 8-5 victory over Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan in the play-off bout, here.”

Sakshi’s historic feat should not surprise tremendously since she is part of a brilliant female Indian wrestling group, the JSW Sports Excellence Program, along with fellow female wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Babita Kumari and Geeta Phogat.

Several years ago Femcompetitor Magazine was extremely impressed with the Phogat sisters and wrote about them.  INDIA’S FINEST WOMEN WRESTLERS ARE SISTERS

Now Sakshi is proudly carrying the torch.

fciwomenswrestling.com article, getty-8755-news18-com photo credit

fciwomenswrestling.com article, getty-8755-news18-com photo credit

Had she emanated from the west where women’s rights, though still evolving, has a very strong support system, her ascension would be more expected.

According to her father, she was motivated to take up wrestling from seeing her grandfather Badhlu Ram, who was also a wrestler.

Sakshi Malik hails from the Mokhra village of Rohtak district in Haryana. Her father, Sukhbir Malik, is a bus conductor and her mother, Sudeh Malik, is a supervisor at a local health clinic.

She began training in wrestling at the age of 12 under a coach, Ishwar Dahiya, at an akhara in Chhotu Ram Stadium, Rohtak. Her coach and she had to face opposition from the locals for having taken up a sport “not for girls”.

Sakshi has decimated the odds by forging her future in a society that has a documented reputation of suppressing the freedom of women. FCI has written about that several years ago as well.

Today’s term is Feticide which means the killing of a fetus; especially illegal abortion. In many countries that’s a euphemism for the murder of women before they are born. This led to a January of 2014 article:

FCI Womens Wrestling » For Millions No Marriage

There is also the issue of Femicide which is a sex-based hate crime term, broadly defined as the killing of women but definitions vary depending on the cultural context.

FCI Womens Wrestling » Women’s Rights Argentina

As reported by the World Health Organization, “Femicide committed by a current or former husband or boyfriend is known as intimate femicide or intimate partner homicide. Preliminary findings of an ongoing study by WHO and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine show that more than 35% of all murders of women globally are reported to be committed by an intimate partner. In comparison, the same study estimates that only about 5% of all murders of men are committed by an intimate partner.”

We lay this foundation because Sakshi was born in India’s Haryana state, where women were for some time not allowed to take part in wrestling events.

There is a certain irony in the overwhelming praise that she is now receiving from some in the very community that shunned her for wrestling.

As reported in the innovative global information source, aljazeera.com they speak to this, “A stream of people are flocking to a house decked in flowers and lights. Family, friends and neighbours gather to congratulate Sakshi Malik – India’s first female wrestler to win an Olympic medal.

Her successful battles on and off the wrestling mat have made her a symbol of female empowerment and a role model in her home state of Haryana, which is notorious for female foeticide.

“I had never anticipated such an overwhelming response to my victory, considering the hostile attitude they had towards me in all my training years as a woman wrestler,” Sakshi, whose grandfather, Badlu Ram, was also a wrestler, told Al Jazeera.”

On the day Al Jazeera met with Sakshi, she was slated to be honoured at her alma mater, an all-women’s college, Maharani Kishori Jat Kanya Mahavidyalya.

As soon as Sakshi entered the campus, joyful girls lifted her on their shoulders, carrying her to the multipurpose hall of the college. Close to 600 girls, broke into loud applause and chanted, “Long live Sakshi Malik, long live revolution!”

Ms. Malik had previously won the silver medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and the bronze medal at the 2015 Asian Wrestling Championships in Doha.

As shared in thehindu.com, here is a documentation of our super star’s rise:

The run-up to Rio

2010: By the age of 18, she had tasted victory at junior-level competitions. She won a Bronze at the 2010 Junior World Championships in the 59-kg category.

2014: She first came to the international limelight after taking home the Gold at the Dave Schultz International Wrestling Tournament (60-kg).

2010: By the age of 18, she had tasted victory at junior-level competitions. She won a Bronze at the 2010 Junior World Championships in the 59-kg category.

2014: She first came to the international limelight after taking home the Gold at the Dave Schultz International Wrestling Tournament (60-kg).

July-August 2014: Her professional international career began with a silver medal in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, courtesy two 4-0 bouts.

September 2014: She crashed out in the Quarterfinal at the World Wrestling Championships in Tashkent. But not before beating her Senegalese opponent 4-1 in the Round of 16.

May 2015: Then on to the Senior Asian Wrestling Championships in Doha, where she won the Bronze.

That is an amazing resume.

Sakshi Malik Gets Engaged to Wrestler Boyfriend Satyawart Kadian

fciwomenswrestling.com article, sports website photo

fciwomenswrestling.com article, sports website photo

It time to visit Sakshi’s home.

Haryana is one of the 29 states in India, situated in North India.

fciwomenswrestling.com article, wikimedia photo By Thorsten Vieth from Bangalore, India

fciwomenswrestling.com article, wikimedia photo By Thorsten Vieth from Bangalore, India

As of the 2011 census of India, the state is the eighteenth largest by population with 25,353,081 inhabitants. The city of Chandigarh is its capital while the city of Faridabad is the most populous city of the state.

Haryana is one of the most economically developed regions in South Asia, and its agricultural and manufacturing industries have experienced sustained growth since the 1970s. Since 2000, the state has emerged as the largest recipient of investment per capita in India.

fciwomenswrestling.com article, Indian Express photo

fciwomenswrestling.com article, Indian Express photo

And yet, with all of Haryana’s financial prosperity, current events still spell caution and a long way to go in terms of Human Rights.

On February 20, 2016, the prominent English news giant bbc.com educates, “At least five people have been killed in a second day of violence related to caste rights in the northern Indian state of Haryana, police say. The demonstrators are mostly from the Jat community who are unhappy about India’s caste quota system.”

This is one of the many examples of the power of female sports.

We learn much about our world by following and reporting on their female sports communities.

How many of you have heard of Sakshi before this article?

We sense that you will hear more about this Indian female freestyle wrestling sensation.

Even though no woman has accomplished in the days and years previous to her 2016 bronze victory in Rio what she has, clearly this is Sakshi’s day.

She’s talented, outspoken and a wonderful hope for inspiring girls in India and around the world to realize that there should be no ceilings in life in terms of pursuing what you hold dear and are willing to sacrifice for.

Burst through that ceiling and you just might get a special phone call.

~ ~ ~

OPENING PHOTO  Indian Express, PTI Photo by Atul Yadav  

Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, fciwomenswrestling2.com, FCI Elite Competitor, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.

On November 11, 2013   http://fciwomenswrestling.com/the-fight-against-femicide/

April 16, 2014 FCI Womens Wrestling » Women’s Rights Argentina

http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/77421/1/WHO_RHR_12.38_eng.pdf

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/foeticide

https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/self-awareness-matters-how-you-can-be-more-self-aware/

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-37103450

http://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/sakshi-malik-from-haryana-to-rio/article9000165.ece

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/rio-2016-olympics/india-in-olympics-2016/wrestling/Rio-Olympics-Wrestler-Sakshi-Malik-wins-Indias-first-medal-bronze-in-58kg-freestyle/articleshow/53747938.cms

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/09/sakshi-malik-indian-medalist-daughters-play-160915090700672.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/08/18/sakshi-malik-wins-indias-first-medal-at-rio-olympics/

http://www.mapsofindia.com/who-is-who/sports/sakshi-malik.html

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-35620647

http://www.haryana.gov.in/knowharyana/history.html