June 28, 2022

Imageglee

Sports Really Satisfies

Tokyo repechage loss taught me many things: Anshu Malik

Anshu Malik heaved a sigh of relief as she made it to the India team for her maiden Commonwealth Games, starting July 28 in Birmingham, during the 57kg trials in Lucknow.

She sat down on the stairs of the newly constructed wrestling hall at the Sports Authority of India and covered her face with her palms.

“This is what I was looking for since my loss at the Tokyo Olympics. It’s going to be one more step of success in my career. I would like to make full use of the opportunity to make the country proud at the Commonwealth Games,” said Anshu.

Anshu, the first Indian wrestler to win a silver medal at the women’s world championship in 2021, felt her preparations were on track. Even her loss in the final came after an exemplary exhibition of grit and courage. Despite an ankle injury in the quarter-finals and nursing a previous elbow injury, she did her best before losing to two-time Olympic medallist Helen Maroulis of the USA in the final.

“My loss in the repechage round at Tokyo taught me many things. Since then, I am working on all aspects of my technique. Training is (going on) well and I am heading in the right direction to achieve success at the CWG,” she added.

Anshu, who has grown from being a promising junior to one of Indian women’s wrestling’s biggest names, has medals of all colours in the Asian Championship. And now she aims to change in the colour of her medal at the forthcoming World Championships in September at Belgrade.

“One should always keep working hard to move forward and I am thinking on the same lines.”

“Postponement of the Asian Games is a bit disappointing as I was well prepared for the event,” she said.

At the trials, Anshu was backed by her father Dharamvir Malik, a former international wrestler. He kept exhorting, cheering and guiding his daughter till she made it to the Indian squad, defeating Sarita Mor 2-1 in a thrilling contest.

Double gold medallist in the Asian Championships and a bronze medallist at the World Championship, Mor was quick in her attacks despite Anshu taking a 2-0 lead early in the final bout. But Anshu, 20, didn’t lose her cool and conceded just one point to her senior rival before clinching the issue.

“My daughter is carrying my dream of wrestling at the international level. I know her style of wrestling since I have taught her the finer points of the sport,” said Dharamvir. “I was sure of Anshu’s win despite Sarita’s best effort in the dying minutes as Anshu’s defence was too good,” he added.

Commenting on Anshu’s progress, India women’s team coach Jitendra Yadav said that she needed modern training to improve her tactics. “She (Anshu) has a great future but she needs to believe in the modern style of training also instead of relying only on the traditional training, meant for muddy courts.”

“She has risen to that level and it’s time for her to change her ways to be one of the top wrestlers in the world. She has been a good contender at the Asian level but to reach the next level, she needs to work hard on many aspects of her technique,” said Yadav. “The upcoming three ranking series events (two in June) and one in July would surely help Indian athletes, including Anshu to prepare well for the CWG 2022 and the World Championships.”