Rohtak, Aug 18 : 'Winning a bronze medal on Raksha Bandhan is the biggest gift I had wished for,' says the cousin of Rio bronze medalist Sakshi Malik, who defeated Asian champion Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan in the freestyle 58 kg category.
Sakshi's cousins Deepak Malik and Sachin Malik expressed immense satisfaction on her achievement and said that their sister never got the time to celebrate Raksha Bandhan earlier as she was working hard for the Olympics.
"In the past four years, she became busy in her practice while preparing for the Olympics. During those years, we did not get the chance to celebrate Raksha Bandhan with her. Now that we have received a special gift, we feel really special this Raksha Bandhan," said Deepak. The 23-year-old girl from Rohtak, Haryana, defeated Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday to clinch bronze medal for the nation in the freestyle 58kg wrestling.
Describing the bronze medal win at the Rio Olympics as the greatest feeling of her life, ace Indian wrestler Sakshi said, ""I am filled with pride and extremely happy that I have fulfilled the expectations of people and finally put India on the medal tally.
It is truly the greatest feeling that I have ever had in my life." Malik's residence was in festive mood after they saw their daughter stand on the podium.
The family celebrated with dance, music and fireworks and emotions ran high during all the celebrations and cheers.
Sakshi's mother Sudesh Malik was relieved after her daughter's win and informed the 23-year-old was not at all tired after fighting back-to-back bouts.
"I asked her if she was tired, she said nobody feels tired after winning a medal for country. She (Sakshi) said I am grateful to the country as it gave me so much support. I had tears in my eyes and she was happy. I feel like decorating the whole Rohtak," she told ANI. Sudesh said that it was a proud moment for the Malik household that their daughter ended the drought. "India's daughter has stopped India's medal drought. So proud of her." Sakshi's father Sukhbir Malik said he was short of words to express his feelings. "She has won the first medal for the country. I got tears in my eyes. It's a big day for all of us. What can I say? Literally have no words to express my happiness," he said. After going down 2-9 against Russia's Valeriia Koblova in the quarter-finals, Sakshi received another chance at a medal via repechage and made full use of the second life by outplaying Mongolian wrestler Orkhon Purevdorj 12-3 to advance to the bronze-medal match.
With the win, she also became the fourth Indian wrestler to win a medal in Olympics after Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav, two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt.