Can Sakshi Malik make it to Tokyo 2020? Wrestler hopes for a second chance

After facing a shock defeat to Sonam Malik at the national trials, Sakshi doing all she can to make it to Asian Olympics qualifiers.

Bronze medalist in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Sakshi Malik has requested the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) to have a re-run of the trials to be able to have another go at securing a berth at Tokyo 2020.

“I am hopeful for another round of trials. If I qualify in that, I will have two more chances - the Asian Olympics qualifiers and the World Olympics qualifiers,” the Indian wrestler told the Press Trust of India. “I want to qualify in the two key tournaments.”

During the national trials in January, Sakshi Malik was handed a shock defeat by two-time Cadet champion Sonam Malik in the 62kg category. The latter pulled off a last-ditch four-point throw to come back from a deficit and sealed her place in the Indian squad for the upcoming Asian Wrestling Championships.

Sakshi Malik improving her technique

Though she lost in the national trials, Sakshi Malik will compete at the Asian Wrestling Championships in New Delhi in the 65kg non-Olympic category. “Preparations for the AWC have been good. I will give my best, be it any competition, and win medals. I am working hard on my technique. I need to make sure that I don’t repeat the same mistakes that I have made in the previous tournaments,” she said.

Sakshi MALIK (IND) df. Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ), 8-5

Sakshi MALIK (IND) df. Aisuluu TYNYBEKOVA (KGZ), 8-5

The 65kg is a new weight category for Sakshi Malik, having won her Rio 2016 medal in the 58kg and then grappling in the 62kg at the national trials. But the 27-year-old has a plan for it.

“I am watching opponents in the same weight category and trying to improvise with my strategies and techniques. In wrestling, weaknesses are aplenty, be it in technique defence or attack,” she revealed.

The Asian Wrestling Championships takes place from February 18th to 23rd.

The Asian route to 2020 Olympics

The WFI had previously stated that if the performances of the Indian wrestlers are not satisfactory at the Asian Wrestling Championships, it may hold a fresh round of trials to decide the contingent for the Asian qualifiers for the 2020 Olympics.

The Asian Wrestling Championships will be held in New Delhi from February 18-23 and they will serve as a good preparatory platform for the Indian wrestlers ahead of the Asian qualifiers for the 2020 Olympics, to be held in March.

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