Finally! A whole nation breathed a sigh of relief late on Wednesday, August 17, as Haryana's Sakshi Malik helped India secure its first medal at the Rio Olympics 2016.
In a thrilling contest, the 23-year-old fought back from 0-5 down to defeat Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan 8-5 and clinch the bronze medal in 58kg category of women's freestyle wrestling.
The medal triggered late-night celebrations across India, and Malik's hometown Rohtak was in a festive mood with dance, music, fireworks and emotions running high through the night.
— ANI (@ANI_news) August 17, 2016
Malik created history by becoming the first woman wrestler from India to bag an Olympic medal. She has now joined the likes of Mary Kom, Karman Malleswari and Saina Nehwal to be part of the list of women who have earlier brought glory to India at the Games.
From Rohtak to Rio, the story of Sakshi Malik is one of grit, determination and willpower.
Hailing from Mokhra village in the Rohtak district of Haryana, Sakshi began training at the age of 12 under the guidance of coach Ishwar Dahiya. Early in her career, she had to fight a lot of boys as the sport was considered "not for girls".
In fact, Dahiya faced opposition from locals when he took Sakshi under his wing.
As a professional wrestler, Malik first tasted success in the international arena in 2010 when she won the bronze medal at the Junior World Championships in the 58kg freestyle event. Then in 2014, she further gained global recognition by winning the gold medal at the Dave Schultz International Wrestling Tournament (60kg).
Here's how people from across the country celebrated the victory on Twitter:
What an expressive girl #SakshiMalik is. Totally bindaas. To say ``I told my mother, ab emotional hona chodh do. Maine kar ke dikhaaya'' :)— T S Sudhir (@Iamtssudhir) August 18, 2016
Bow down to #SakshiMalik 's mother as well,who encouraged her 2 pursue wrestling.Tdy a country of1.25bn is rejoicing— Vijender Singh (@boxervijender) August 18, 2016
#SakshiMalik is a reminder of what cn happn if u don't kill a girl child.When d going gets tough,its our girls who get going &save our pride— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) August 18, 2016
I have seen the game changing in last 2 seconds, so I thought to myself why not in 10 seconds, tried my best and did it: #SakshiMalik— ANI (@ANI_news) August 18, 2016
#SakshiMalik has salvaged the pride of a billion people.This must become the moment when we inspire ourselves to turn Indian sport around— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) August 18, 2016
Sakshi Malik will inspire several sportspersons in the years to come. https://t.co/5aE24BIryT— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 18, 2016
A medal! And a first for a woman wrestler! Hopefully, the first of many. Congratulations to the tough #SakshiMalik— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) August 18, 2016
Sakshi says she took up wrestling because she thought that's only way she could fly in an aeroplane! India ki sherni pic.twitter.com/Qlvm3h7ZfD— Rahul Kanwal (@rahulkanwal) August 18, 2016