India wrestler Sakshi Malik, who won bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, said Vinesh Phogat`s moment to achieve glory has arrived and her wait for a medal will end at the Tokyo Games starting on Friday.
Vinesh, 26, who is the top-ranked wrestler in the 53kg category, will be participating in her second Olympics after facing a huge disappointment at Rio, where she suffered a career-threatening knee injury in the quarter-finals.
“Last time, she did not win a medal even though she was one of the favourites. She was very disappointed and also cried in front of me. I believe her time has come now. Her wait will end, all her hard work will pay off and she will achieve her goal and bring glory to the nation,” said Sakshi during a virtual interaction on Wednesday.
Rio Olympics bronze medal-winning wrestler Sakshi Malik. Pic/AFP
When asked if there will be pressure on Vinesh to win a medal as this could be her last Olympics, Sakshi, who is the first Indian woman wrestler to win an Olympic medal, said: “This is not her final opportunity [to win an Olympic medal]. She is strong and is also World No. 1. This time, she will surely win a medal. And If she continues the good work, she will be one of the favourites for the next Olympics too.”
Vinesh, a 2018 Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medallist, is part of the seven-member strong team which includes Bajrang Punia (65kg), Ravi Kumar Dahiya (57kg), Anshu Malik (57kg), Sonam Malik (62kg), Deepak Punia (86kg) and Seema Bisla (50kg). And Sakshi is expecting a medal haul from the wrestlers.
“Our wrestling team is very strong and I`m definitely expecting at least four medals. Names that will definitely get a medal are Vinesh, Bajrang and Ravi, and Anshu. The other three are juniors and if they do well, they can win us medals too,” said Sakshi, who will be part of the Sony Sports show, Sports Extra during the Olympics.
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