CWG 2018

With a new defensive technique, Sakshi Malik is confident of winning gold at Commonwealth Games

Sakshi has tweaked her leg defence on the insistence of coach Kuldeep Singh Malik.

After adding a new defensive technique to her repertoire, Olympic bronze-medallist wrestler Sakshi Malik is confident of winning her maiden Commonwealth Games gold medal in Gold Coast next month.

Sakshi has tweaked her leg defence on the insistence of coach Kuldeep Singh Malik, something that has already got her a gold in the Commonwealth Championships in December last year.

Speaking to PTI, Sakshi, however, refused to reveal details of the new technique that she has worked on.

“I can’t give the details of the techniques. But as I said, I’m looking for a gold medal and more confident now.”

In February this year, a controversial decision in the qualification bout against eventual silver-medallist Luo Xiaojuan of China cost Sakshi a place in the final of the Asian Championship in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

“Life has changed completely (post-Rio). There’s more responsibility on me now – to win more and more medals for India. I hope CWG is the beginning, ahead of the Asian Games in Indonesia later this year and Tokyo Olympics 2020.”

“The target is to win a gold medal for the country in Australia. Preparation is going great and I’m giving my 100 per cent, training twice a day,” Sakshi told PTI from SAI Centre in Lucknow.

According to her coach Kuldeep Singh Malik, her leg defence has improved and that will help her hold and attack. “It’s a work in progress. It certainly makes a difference not only in defence but in the speed,” the coach said.

Apart from training, Sakshi’s preparations include watching videos of her possible opponents from Canada and Nigeria.

“Canada and Nigeria will be the strong opponents. I’m preparing myself by watching their videos, the techniques.,” she said.

The wrestler, who competes for Mumbai Maharathi as captain in the Pro Wrestling League, said the experience has been very helpful.

“There’s scope to learn something when we fight against or train with big names from foreign countries. I have improved a lot in my techniques and style due to PWL,” the 25-year-old said.

Four years ago at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Sakshi, who was competing at the women’s 58kg then, lost badly to Aminat Adeniyi. The Nigerian took a lead of 10-0 in two minutes 24 seconds when the match had to be stopped on grounds of technical superiority.

But after her historic Rio performance, Sakshi will head to Gold Coast as a strong medal hope.

“Everyone expects a gold from me. I will give my best and hope to upgrade my (last edition’s) Commonwealth silver into a gold this time.

“The Olympic medal gives me a lot of inspiration and my confidence has grown after that. After getting the medal, I am able to understand wrestling more.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

What are racers made of?

Grit, strength and oodles of fearlessness.

Sportspersons are known for their superhuman discipline, single-minded determination and the will to overcome all obstacles. Biographies, films and documentaries have brought to the fore the behind-the-scenes reality of the sporting life. Being up at the crack of dawn, training without distraction, facing injuries with a brave face and recovering to fight for victory are scenes commonly associated with sportspersons.

Racers are no different. Behind their daredevilry lies the same history of dedication and discipline. Cornering on a sports bike or revving up sand dunes requires the utmost physical endurance, and racers invest heavily in it. It helps stave off fatigue and maintain alertness and reaction time. It also helps them get the most out of their racecraft - the entirety of a racer’s skill set, to which years of training are dedicated.

Racecraft begins with something as ‘simple’ as sitting on a racing bike; the correct stance is the key to control and manoeuvre the bike. Riding on a track – tarmac or dirt is a great deal different from riding on the streets. A momentary lapse of concentration can throw the rider into a career ending crash.

Physical skill and endurance apart, racers approach a race with the same analytical rigour as a student appearing in an exam. They conduct an extensive study of not just the track, but also everything around it - trees, marshal posts, tyre marks etc. It’s these reference points that help the racer make braking or turning decisions in the frenzy of a high-stakes competition.

The inevitability of a crash is a reality every racer lives with, and seeks to internalise this during their training. In the immediate aftermath of the crash, racers are trained to keep their eyes open to help the brain make crucial decisions to avoid collision with other racers or objects on the track. Racers that meet with accidents can be seen sliding across the track with their heads held up, in a bid to minimise injuries to the head.

But racecraft is, of course, only half the story. Racing as a profession continues to confound many, and racers have been traditionally misunderstood. Why would anyone want to pour their blood, sweat and tears into something so risky? Where do racers get the fearlessness to do laps at mind boggling speed or hurtle down a hill unassisted? What about the impact of high speeds on the body day after day, or the monotony of it all? Most importantly, why do racers race? The video below explores the question.

Play


The video features racing champions from the stable of TVS Racing, the racing arm of TVS Motor Company, which recently completed 35 years of competitive racing in India. TVS Racing has competed in international rallies and races across some of the toughest terrains - Dakar, Desert Storm, India Baja, Merzouga Rally - and in innumerable national championships. Its design and engineering inputs over the years have also influenced TVS Motors’ fleet in India. You can read more about TVS Racing here.

This article has been produced by Scroll Brand Studio on behalf of TVS Racing and not by the Scroll editorial team.