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Sakshi Malik, Born on September 3, 1992, in Rohtak, Haryana, Sakshi Malik has her supportive parents, Sudesh and Sukhbir, to thank for encouraging her in her unusual career choice.

The 23-year-old from Mokhra village began her training in wrestling as a 12-year-old under the guidance of Ishwar Dahiya at an akhara in the Chotu Ram stadium. Her grooming was helped along by having to fight a lot of boys, in a region where the sport was ‘not for girls’. In fact, Dahiya faced protests from locals when he took Sakshi under his wing.

When she won a Bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, she became the 1st Indian Woman wrestler & only 4th Indian female athlete to win an Olympic medal.

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1. Sakshi Malik was born on September 3, 1992 in the Mokhra village of Rohtak district in Haryana. Her father Sukhbir Malik holds a job with the Delhi Transport Corporation while her mother Sudesh is a government employee.

2. The young Malik got interested in wrestling when she was 12, and she began her journey in the sport when she joined her current coach Ishwar Dahiya’s akhara at the Chotu Ram stadium in 2004. She started honing her skills by training with boys initially.

“I started wrestling when I was 12. I always wanted to be different. There were very few girls, as a result of which I had to train with boys mostly,” Sakshi reminisced in an interview.

3. It was not easy as Dahiya had to constantly resist protests from locals who were against the training of girls. Things slowly changed and they became more accepting as the girls from the akhara started to shine in competitions. Sakshi herself faced a difficult situation of her own, trying to balance wrestling with studies. But constant support from her alma mater – the Vaish Public School and the Vaish Girls College – helped ease the pressure.

4. Her parents, despite not being associated with sports, fully backed their daughter and did everything possible to help her fulfill her dreams. From arranging for her coaching to taking care of her nutrition and diet, they ensured that their daughter got all the help that she needed.

5. Sakshi began flourishing quickly at the sub-junior and junior level and even claimed a bronze medal at the 2010 Junior World Championships in the 59kg category. Her first notable achievement in senior circuit was at the Dave Schultz International Wrestling Tournament in 2014 where she defeated American Jennifer Page, the Junior World bronze medallist to take the 60 kg gold.

6. When she won a Bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, she became the 1st Indian Woman wrestler & only 4th Indian female athlete to win an Olympic medal.

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