Sakshi Malik has already made history by becoming the first Indian woman wrestler to win a medal at the Olympics but her thirst for success and record-breaking feats is yet to be quenched. The 2016 Rio Olympic Games bronze medallist has now set her sights on winning another medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games, which would equal Sushil Kumar's historic feat of being the only Indian to win two individual Olympic medals.
Sakshi had defeated Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan in the bronze medal bout to hand India their first medal of the Rio Games.
"My aim is to equal Sushil Kumar's historic feat by winning an Olympic medal at Tokyo in 2020. I am completely focussed to achieve that goal. I want to become a double Olympic medallist just like Sushil ji," Sakshi was quoted as saying by PTI.
"For the Olympics, one has to start his/her training four years in advance and I have already started my training accordingly," she added.
With the Tokyo Games still far away, Sakshi said her main target this year was to do well at the World Championships. The wrestler has also set her sights at winning the gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia and the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
"My target this year is to do well at the World Championships. As of now, I am also planning to participate at the Asian Championship, to be held in Delhi, in May. Besides, I am looking forward to bagging gold medals at next year's Commonwealth and Asian Games," said Sakshi.
There are pros and cons of becoming a well known face in India but the 24-year-old had only good things to say about her new found fame.
"Life has changed for good. People recognise me a lot more now and it gives a very good feeling. It also inspires me to do better."
"Yes, no doubt the pressure has increased manifold and every time I come on mat there is a huge burden of expectations that I carry on my shoulders. But that also motivates me to work harder and improve upon my game. I am trying to iron out all my flaws and train better. In a way that helps me prepare better and I am more confident now when I fight my bouts," she added.
Sakshi was the captain of Delhi Sultans team at the Pro Wrestling League this season and although she did well, her team failed to make the semifinals.
"Personally for me, I did win all my bouts and that gives a lot of satisfaction. I also learnt a lot from other foreign wrestlers. Last season also I learnt many new things and that had helped me during the Olympics.
"This time also I managed to pick up a few tricks of the trade from some experienced wrestlers and I am sure that will hold me in good stead at the international tournaments. It was an invaluable experience, even though my team failed to make the cut."
(With PTI Inputs)