Wrestler Anshu Malik recovers from injury, eyes Olympic berth


Promising freestyle wrestler Anshu Malik has fully recovered from a back injury she sustained in the first week of this month, and is now keen to book an Olympic Games quota place next month.

Due to a stiff back, 19-year-old Malik was forced to withdraw from the women’s 57kg bronze medal bout during the Matteo Pellicone World Ranking Series held in Rome from March 4 to 7.

However, the international wrestler from Nidani, Haryana, went on to win last week’s national selection trials for the Asian Olympic qualifier, held in Lucknow. A good performance at the continental competition in Almaty, Kazakhstan, from April 9 to 18, will ensure Malik books her ticket to the Tokyo Olympics, starting on July 23.

“After the trials in Lucknow she had come home. She is better now. We hope she would live up to expectations and win the quota place,” Malik’s father Dharamvir Malik told IANS.

In the 2019 Olympic qualification cycle, Vinesh Phogat had won an Olympic quota place in the women’s 53kg. The other top female wrestlers weren’t successful in the 2019 season. After the 2020 season was disrupted due to Covid pandemic the qualification system has resumed again. The Asian Olympics qualification tournament is the first for the Asian countries.

The other three quota places in the men’s freestyle event came in 2019. Bajrang Punia (65kg), Ravi Dahiya (57kg), and Deepak Punia (86kg) were successful in booking berths to Tokyo.

Malik has given a good account of her prowess since moving up to senior level in 2019. She won bronze in the Asian Championships held in February last year at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Sports Complex in New Delhi.

In December, Malik won silver in the Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia. “She doesn’t give up. That quality would be a big asset when she steps on to the mat for the Asian Olympic qualifiers,” said Dharamvir Malik.