The 23-year-old Indian Wrestler Sakshi Malik defeated Kyrgyzstan’s Aisuluu Tynybekova in a dramatic finish in the 58kg freestyle wrestling category, making a comeback in the final seconds to win 8-5.
After her victory Malik jogged around the wrestling arena, carrying the Indian flag before collapsing on the mat as true realisation of her feat sank in.
“It’s (the victory) the result of 12 years of wrestling day and night. I never gave up in the bout and gave it my maximum,” she told Indian television news channels after her victory.
Sakshi Malik is the first Indian female wrestler to win an Olympic medal.
Born in northern conservative Haryana state, adjoining New Delhi, where women were only recently allowed to wrestle, Malik is India’s fourth female athlete to climb the Olympic victory podium.
Sakshi’s father Subir Malik said, “She emulated her grandfather who was a wrestler and never regretted her decision.”
Sakshi should be an example to all fathers who feel that their daughters should not enter the sports field, he told NDTV from his hometown of Rohtak.
Prime minister Narendra Modi congratulated Malik, calling her "India’s daughter" as millions of thankful Indians celebrated the event, bitterly disappointed after almost all the country’s medal hopefuls were eliminated.