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75 years of independence: Iconic moments from Indian sports – Sakshi Malik wins bronze at Rio Olympics 2016

India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging greatest sporting achievements by Indian athletes.

August 17, 2016: Sakshi Malik becomes the first Indian woman wrestler to win an Olympic medal

Women’s freestyle wrestling bronze medalist Sakshi Malik defeated Kyrgyzstan’s Aisuluu Tynybekova 8-5 in the 58kg division at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. She became just the fourth Indian woman to win an Olympic medal at that time, and it was India’s first medal at that Games.

The wrestler’s bronze medal at the Olympics helped to brighten the Indian camp’s morale after 12 days of helplessness. It provided some solace for many back home who were sick of hearing about Indian sportsmen’ close calls and failures. The nation gained a new sporting icon as a result.

The 23-year-old wrestler’s progress was rather unexpected.

Sakshi, the first female wrestler from India to win an Olympic medal, handed her nation its fifth wrestling medal and fourth in the previous three Olympics. Sakshi’s father works as a bus operator. Malik, a physical education post-graduate, joined a remarkable group of athletes who have represented their nation admirably in international competition, including Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, P. V. Sindhu, Mary Kom, and Dipa Karmakar.

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