CWG 2022: Sakshi Malik puts behind Tokyo disappointment to win gold in Commonwealth Games

Sakshi Malik AFP

Rio Olympic medalist and ace wrestler Sakshi Malik defeated Canada’s Ana Gonzalez in the final of the Women’s Freestyle 62kg to win gold, her third Commonwealth Games medal on Friday.

The gold medal completed Sakshi’s collection of Games medals and helped her overcome the disappointment of not being able to qualify and compete at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The bout gave the iconic Rio Olympics bronze medal bout feels as Sakshi bounced back from behind after trailing 0-4 to pin her opponent.

Sakshi started her campaign in dominant fashion, defeating England’s 20-year-old Kelsey Barne in the quarterfinal bout. She repeated the same result in the semi-final against Etane Ngolle of Cameroon in the women’s freestyle to storm her way into the final.

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It took Sakshi five bouts to beat her nemesis — 20-year-old Sonam Malik — in selection trials to earn her place in the 62kg weight category in the national squad for the Birmingham Games and she made sure to convert into her third CWG medal. Sakshi did not just defend anymore at the Commonwealth Games. She looked to dominate, score points, and finish her bouts quickly.


Sakshi was born on September 3, 1992, in the village of Mokhra in the Rohtak district of Haryana. After watching her grandfather Subir Malik, also a wrestler, it was not long before Sakshi Malik was inspired to take up the sport that would go on to define her career.

At just 12, she began training under Ishwar Dahiya and five years later, she experienced her first taste of success with a silver medal in the 2009 Asian Junior World Championships in 59kg freestyle, which was followed by a bronze medal at the 2010 World Junior Championships.

After winning bronze at the 2013 Commonwealth Championships, Sakshi Malik contested her first Commonwealth Games the following year in Glasgow and came away with a silver medal after stumbling against Nigeria’s Aminat Adeniyi in the 58kg final. She would go on to bag her second and final Commonwealth Games medal in 2018 with a bronze in the 62kg category.

Currently, Sakshi is a part of the JSW Sports Excellence Program, along with fellow female wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Babita Kumari and Geeta Phogat.

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