Mumbai: “This will motivate the budding and the present national and international athletes,” was the quick reaction from Sakshi Malik, who clinched bronze medal winner at the Rio 2016 Olympics. She was seconded by another freestyle wrestler Sushil Kumar who said the central contract is a big boost to the wrestlers, and we appreciate the move taken by Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).
Talking to The Free Press Journal on the sidelines of Tata Motors Elite Wrestlers Development Programme’s launch, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee Sakshi said, “this will boost the wrestling in our country and we will have many taking up this sports seriously.”
Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil said it will be a big relief for the wrestlers, as they can now concentrate more on the sport than think about the financial aspect. “We struggle to earn money, But now this will help us to keep our focus on the game. It’s a big relief.”
Claiming national title earlier this month after not so impressive outing in the Asian Games, Sakshi said she is now aiming qualification for the World Championship. “Wrestling league is in line and then we have world championship qualifiers. I will try to qualify
for the championship. After getting qualified for World Championship, I will have entire year to prepare for the (2020) Olympics,” she said. Talking about Pro Wrestling League, Commonwealth Games silver medallist Sakshi feels playing with foreign players is an advantage for Indian wrestlers to get experience. “Playing in the league with foreign players is big advantage for us. We are getting experience so we can do well outside the country. We are also getting huge support from federation and sponsors,” she added.