Dejected with the loss on her Olympic debut, wrestler Sonam Malik had shut herself down.
She was feeling ‘heartbroken’ but her childhood coach Ajmer Malik stood by her side and told her that “this is not the end” of everything.
“When she came back from Tokyo, she was feeling so disheartened. She shut herself down,” said Ajmer. “We all know she is a good wrestler but sometimes it happens. I told her that this is not the end of everything. You need to stand up again and focus on future events. She has now started her training.”
Sonam’s Olympic debut ended with a first-round defeat against Mongolia’s Bolortuya Khurelkhuu in the 62kg category after the former had adopted a defensive approach. The 19-year-old led the bout 2-0 but the reigning Asian silver medallist Khurelkhuu effected a take-down move with just 35 seconds left in the contest to level the score. The score remained 2-2 till the end but since it was the Mongolian who scored the last point with her move, she was declared the winner on criteria.
“She didn’t give her best in the bout and lost. But this was her first Olympics and she is just 19-year-old. Hopefully, she has learned her lesson of how to handle pressure. She was over defensive. That was a mistake. Nevertheless, she has got big-stage experience,” Ajmer said.
Further asked about the notice issued by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) to Sonam, who had sought help from a SAI official in collecting her stamped passport, the coach said, “Sonam has apologized to the federation.”
“The federation has always supported its wrestlers and we believe that Sonam will be forgiven,” he added.