Anshu Malik created history on Thursday (October 7) as she became the first Indian woman wrestler to win a silver medal at the World Wrestling Championships. The 20-year-old lost her last bout 1-4 to two-time Olympic medalist Helen Maroulis at the World Championships in Oslo, Norway.
Anshu had defeated European silver medalist Solomiya Vinnik of Ukraine in the women’s 57kg semifinal on Wednesday. Cadet World Champion and Junior World Silver Medalist Anshu was the third Indian to reach the finals of the World Championships after 2010 champion Sushil Kumar and 2018 silver medalist Bajrang Punia.
Other Indian women wrestlers who have won bronze medals in the past are Geeta Phogat (2012), Babita Phogat (2012), Pooja Dhanda (2018) and Vinesh Phogat (2019).
She hails from Nidani village in Jind district of Haryana, which is famous for producing wrestlers and boxers. Anshu tried his hand at wrestling in 2012 after seeing his brother Shubham on a train at the CBSM Sports School in the village.
This wrestler from Haryana won the silver medal Won a bronze medal at the Asian Junior Championships in Taiwan in 2016 and the World Cadet Championships in Georgia in the same year. A year later she would go on to win the World Cadet title.
Anshu’s father Dharamveer is also a former wrestler and represented India in the junior wrestling team in the 1990s. Dharamveer was forced to cut short his professional career following a knee injury.
When Anshu came home from the Tokyo Olympics in August, her first Summer Games, Dharamveer made sure her daughter was welcomed like a champion.
“Whenever I would return from international competitions without winning a medal, I would always feel disappointed. But this was not the case in Anshu’s career. I have always told him that even defeat teaches something. He has put the defeat against Russia at the Olympics behind him. Watching her become the only Indian wrestler to reach the finals of the World Championships makes me a little emotional,” Dharamveer was quoted as saying in the Indian Express newspaper.
In April this year, she became one of the youngest Indians to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, having enjoyed a stellar run at the senior level for more than a year and a half – Asian gold at the individual World Cup in Belgrade and a Won silver. 2020.
However, her preparation for the Olympics was affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 in her family. Even as her father Dharamveer was battling the deadly disease, Anshu had to train outside a hotel room. She gave her best shot at the Olympics but lost in repechage to eventual finalists Irina Kurachkina and then Valeria Koblova.
(with IANS inputs)