The 27-year-old wrestler is training hard for the upcoming tournaments.

Sakshi Malik has been one of the stalwarts in Wrestling in India after winning the bronze medal at the Rio Olympics. However, things have not gone as per plan for her this year. Following her defeat to 18-year old Sonam Malik in the trials for the Asian Qualifiers, she had to wait for the results which would decide her chances of participation in the world qualifiers.

However, all these happened before the coronavirus started spreading its wings. Therefore the Asian Qualifiers was postponed after shifting it twice. Eventually, the Olympics was also postponed to next year.

India went under lockdown on March 25 and that has extended twice and therefore Sakshi Malik is restricted to her home in Rohtak, Haryana. She has fixed her old akhada in the backyard and has been training regularly. However, the absence of a sparring partner forces her to focus on singular training methods and stretching exercises.

In the beginning, she felt a 15-day lockdown won’t be much of a hassle but soon with every passing day she has realised that the country is in for a long haul. “Yes, in the beginning, I took it easy thinking it’s just a 15-day lockdown. I was thinking it’s fine if I have no partners for this amount of time because training is anyhow not going to take place properly,” Sakshi Malik told IANS.

“But then obviously it kept getting extended and I changed my mindset accordingly. We all have to try and adapt to our situations or else we will all have all sorts of mental problems. So I just changed my mindset according to the situation.”

Life of an athlete revolves around travelling to different places and Sakshi’s is no different. A 15-year long career in wrestling has taken her to various new places.

She remarked.”This is the first time in my life I am experiencing anything like this– being quarantined at home. Life is completely different. I rarely spent more than 15 days in one place. Either I would be travelling to camps or abroad for training or tournaments. So yes, negative thoughts do come sometimes. I wonder sometimes if I have gone too far away from wrestling. But then I remember that this situation is not something that only I am facing. Everyone around the world is going through this or worse.”

Sakshi Malik is maintaining her daily routine and with her training session mainly during morning and evening and rest during the day.

“As I said, there is no sparring partner so I do individual work on the mat. I have an area where I can do strength-based exercises. I have maintained my usual schedule that was there before and a good part of the day still goes in training, there have been no changes on that front,” she added.

She is not thinking about the injuries that may occur when she will resume wrestling after a long hiatus. She is currently in touch with women’s foreign coach Andrew Cook who sends her advice via Whatsapp.

“He keeps sending videos of what sort of training we can do on an individual basis. Right after the lockdown, they plan to hold a camp with all the girls in one place. The risk of injury is there for everyone. So this situation is not something that we are thinking too much about,” said Sakshi.

The United World Wrestling has announced the new tentative qualification schedule with the Asian qualifiers scheduled for March 2021 and the World Qualifiers for April 2021, but Sakshi confirmed IANS that there has not been any communication from the Wrestling Federation of India on camps and competitions post lockdown. There are no plans yet. With the federation, the conversation is always about news on training.