Anshu Malik made historical past in Oslo on Wednesday – her complete 11-0 technical superiority victory over Solomiia Vynnyk of Ukraine making her the primary Indian girl wrestler to make the finals of the World Championships. She’s sporting that mantle flippantly although. No less than that is the impression you’d get for those who have been aware of the 20-year-old’s put up victory name together with her father Dharamvir Malik. The chat was a really transient one. “After I congratulated her, she mentioned she needed to get again to coaching. She has the ultimate to wrestle in as properly so she needed to reduce weight as soon as once more. She’s very centered. She’s not occupied with making the ultimate. She desires to win a gold,” he says.
Anshu has been a wrestler on a mission after a troublesome previous few months for her. In April, she grew to become one of many youngest Indians to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in April, capping a outstanding run on the senior degree over a 12 months and a half – the place she would win Asian gold and a silver on the Particular person World Cup in Belgrade in 2020. However simply when she had hoped to interrupt out, issues had not gone her approach. Her build-up to the Olympics was marred by an outbreak of COVID-19 in her household. Whilst her father struggled with a nasty bout, Anshu needed to prepare out of a resort room. She had given her greatest on the Olympics however misplaced to eventual finalist Iryna Kurachkina after which Valeria Koblova within the repechage.
“She was very upset after the Olympics. She had hoped to return with a medal and he or she got here again empty-handed,” says her father. After just a few days as she got here to phrases with the defeat, she selected a brand new problem. “She mentioned even when I could not win a medal on the Olympics, I will win one on the World championships,” he says.
However there can be additional challenges in retailer for her. She had aggravated a long-standing niggle in her left elbow on the Olympics. “It could simply lock by itself,” Anshu would clarify. Regardless of the potential danger, she determined to compete within the trials to pick out the Indian crew for the World Championships. Within the ultimate bout of the competitors, that elbow tweaked painfully as soon as once more and what was as soon as an irritation developed right into a tear.
“The docs suggested her to take a seat out of the World Championships. However she was decided she would go,” says her father. For all her resolve, it was not possible to make use of her elbow. “For 2 weeks we solely skilled her legs. It is solely the final week earlier than the World Championships that we skilled her higher physique,” says her coach Jagdish Sheoran.
Regardless of the ache she was beneath, Anshu says she by no means thought-about skipping the World Championships. “It was very troublesome. Simply after the Olympics, I did not have the efficiency I wished. I picked up an harm in my elbow. The one month I ready for the Worlds, solely I can say how I skilled. However I simply wished to satisfy what I had missed out on on the Olympics,” she advised reporters in Oslo following her semifinal. In Oslo, she says the ache was forgotten. “I wrestled each match as if I used to be wrestling for the final time. The elbow is not all proper however as soon as on the mat you do not even give it some thought,” she says.
It’s true that the World Championships featured a depleted discipline, with solely Olympic bronze medallists Helen Maroulis of the USA and Evelina Nikolova getting back from Tokyo to compete in Oslo. Anshu additionally bought a beneficial draw with each Maroulis and Nikolova in addition to Japan’s 2019 Junior World Champion Sae Nanjo on the other facet of the draw. However Anshu did what she wanted to do. She got here via a difficult opening bout in opposition to present junior world champion Nilufar Raimova with a 15-5 victory by technical superiority, then beat 2020 Asian silver medallist Davaachimeg Erkhembayar 5-1 earlier than rolling over 2021 European junior champion Solomiia Vynnyk within the semis.
Though she’s already created historical past, Anshu says she desires to go one step additional. She’ll should get previous USA’s Helen Maroulis although. Though Maroulis gained a bronze in Tokyo, she’s a gold medallist from Rio and is a two-time world champion. The Indian although goes into the competition with none worry. “I am feeling actually good. No matter errors I had made on the Olympics, I am getting an opportunity to appropriate them right here. I simply wished to provide my one hundred pc. I’ve given my one hundred pc in all my matches. I wrestled every match as if it was my final. I’ll combat the ultimate as if I’m wrestling my ultimate match additionally,” she says.