The Tashkent airport terminal turned into a warm-up hall for Anshu Malik and Sonam Malik for a few hours on Friday. During a nine-hour layover before continuing their journey to Almaty, Kazakhstan, the Indian wrestlers changed into their sweat-suits because they wore a couple of layers, in fact, started jogging around the waiting hall.
They starved themselves for almost 18 hours, sweated buckets, and they reached their destination at midnight, After that underwent COVID-19 tests and slept only for a couple of hours. On Saturday, they were tired from the journey. In Sonam's case, through pain - sealed her place in the Asian Olympic qualifiers and for the Olympic Games in July-August.
The road to Tokyo for the national champions was smooth.
“When they left from Delhi on Friday morning, both of them weighed roughly a kilogram above their weight,” Sonam’s father Raj says. Referring to the weight classes, he said that 18-year-old Sonam is competing in the 62 kg class and 9-year-old Anshu is competing in the 57 kg class.
In general, it is common for wrestlers to weigh one kilogram more than the limit of their class. They gain weight before the day of their competition. However, in the case of Sonam and Anshu, they were cutting it very well.
The Wrestling Federation of India had booked its flights to Almaty, which would arrive a few hours before their opening match on Saturday. This would have saved them a lot of time to lose extra weight, and even if they had managed it somehow,
Raj adds: “It helped that both were together and they are sisters, they understand each other that well.”Dr. Dhillon Randeep
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