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Sushil Sir inspires me to work harder: Sonam Malik

Sushil Sir inspires me to work harder: Sonam Malik

Sudip Pakrashi

Updated: 2 July 2021 3:56 PM GMT

Sonam Malik arrived in her village, Madina, near Sonipat in Haryana from Sofia on Sunday early morning. She is, probably, the only female Indian wrestler to have achieved back-to-back gold medals in cadet World Championship.

After having won it last year, Sonam achieved it once again in style, trouncing China's Binbin Xiang 7-1. Still the 16-year old seemed nonchalant while speaking to The Bridge on Sunday morning. On way back to her village, she was inside the car driven by her coach Ajmer Malik, the former army man who teaches wrestling in a school named Netaji Subhash Chandra Sports academy. Tennis is taught at the academy as well, besides wrestling.

"There is no doubt that I am extremely happy. I have started setting focus on a medal in 2024 Olympics. I must not be complacent!"

Ajmer Mallik was quick to indicate his best student's mental shape. He said, "She had begun wrestling under my training five years ago. Since then I have never seen her getting self-satisfied. Even after a hectic seven-hour training including morning and evening session, Sonam asked me to rectify her mistakes." But what is Sonam's strength in wrestling?

Ajmer explained, "She is very quick on the mat. She is very flexible and the most important quality she possesses is that she can lift opposition on her shoulder with effortless ease and throw her down on the mat (upar se fek sakte hay). She often does this to earn the maximum points."

Sonam's father, Raj Malik works at a sugar mill as a delivery man. He remembers practising wrestling along with Ajmer during his youth. But due to Raj's financial instability, Sonam has been going through severe financial crisis since her childhood. Ajmer opined, "The struggle made her mentally strong."

Sonam Malik has become a two-time cadet world champion as she clinched her third straight World Cadet medal last week. Sonam Malik has become a two-time cadet world champion as she clinched her third straight World Cadet medal last week.

There is another example of Sonam's mental strength. Her coach revealed, "Sonam received severe injury on her left shoulder in 2017 and her shoulder was paralyzed.

"She was ruled out for five months. During that painful phase I used to motivate her all the time saying that injury is a part of sport. So do not become frustrated. Sonam, in reply, asked me not to worry. She always said that she would make a solid comeback. And finally she won a gold medal in World Championship."

Sonam has always idolized ace wrestler Sushil Kumar. She said, "I met him only once in Mumbai. That is one of my best moments so far. He inspired me a lot, advised me to work harder. I try to follow Sushil Sir's advice."

The teenage sensation in Indian wrestling is already sponsored by Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ). When asked about her immediate plans, Sonam said, "I do not know exactly. But I heard OGQ can take initiative to send me to Japan for training and participation in preparatory tournaments before I take part in junior Asian Championship, likely to be held in November."

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