The Indian legends spoke on a show hosted by Olympic Silver medallist PV Sindhu.
Sakshi Malik and Bhaichung Bhutia are two names that will be etched in Indian sporting honours forever. One being the first woman wrestler to win an Olympic medal for India and the other being one of the greatest footballers the nation has ever produced.
They appeared on the final two episodes of ‘The A-Game’ to share stories of their greatest triumphs. The show, which is hosted by Sindhu, is conceptualized and produced by Baseline Ventures. In the fourth episode of the show, Sakshi Malik spoke about an important training camp abroad which helped her immensely to win an Olympic medal.
“Before the Rio Olympics, we had training camps abroad wherein we could train with partners from different countries. I had wrestling matches against World and Olympic medallists. I learned a lot of techniques and gained a lot of experience. So, the three-month training period abroad was very important to me. The training camp gave me a lot of exposure and it helped me immensely to win an Olympic medal,” said the wrestler.
A chance to win an Olympic medal was slipping away from Sakshi Malik when she was trailing 0-5 against Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan in the repechage medal playoff at Rio, but the wrestler fought back and won the bout 8-5.
She recollected, “I was down 0-5, but I knew that I had a lot of time to make a comeback and I had made comebacks in my previous matches. My coach Kuldeep sir was telling me to play my own game, play an attacking wrestling game. When I started playing aggressively, I started to win points. I didn’t give up until the last second and gave my 100 percent to win the match and the Olympic medal.”
The Indian football team created history in 2008 when they booked a place in the AFC Asian Cup finals for the first time in 27 years. One of India’s favourite football stars Bhaichung Bhutia was the leader of the pack when the boys in blue defeated Tajikistan in the final of the AFC Challenge Cup.
“We knew that Tajikistan was the best team in the tournament and we had played out a draw in the league matches. But, sometimes, you have those matches where, whatever you do, it goes right. The final was one of those matches. Our first three shots were all goals. That gave us a lot of confidence and it obviously got the match under our control,” said Bhaichung Bhutia.
The former footballer also spoke about the advice he had given to the team before the big final. “My advice to the boys was that we have been preparing for this tournament for one year and we can’t let it slip with just one game remaining so we need to make sure that we give our best to win this tournament and get into the Asia Cup,” he concluded.