Mysuru: Olympic medal winning woman wrestler Sakshi Mallik appealed the authorities to set up an exclusive Wrestling Academy for Girls in order to prepare them for Olympics.
She was speaking after launching the State-level Dasara Sports meet at Chamundi Vihar Stadium in Nazarbad here on Thursday.
Stating that she wants to establish a wrestling academy after her retirement from the sport, Sakshi Mallik said that she was appealing the local authorities wherever she went to set up a women wrestling academy.
Recalling her journey in wrestling, she said that she took to wrestling 18 years ago and hard work, regular practice and total dedication has enabled her to reach this stage. Stating that she was the first Indian woman wrestler to win a Olympic medal, she called upon women to take to wrestling as it is no longer a male dominated sport.
Noting that this was her first ever visit to Mysuru, she said she was very much moved by the welcome she got here. She thanked the authorities for having invited her to inaugurate Dasara sports meet.
Minister for Youth Empowerment and Sports K.C. Narayanagowda in his address, said he was happy that more than 4,600 sportspersons from across the State are taking part in the event.
Maintaining that the Government has released Rs.504 crore for organising sports meets in rural areas, he said that Yoga too is being promoted as a sport. Observing that sportspersons too play a significant role in the country’s future, he called upon the students to take to sports as well along with academics.
District Minister S.T. Somashekar, who unfurled the flag, said that the presence of Sakshi Mallik will certainly inspire budding sportspersons. Pointing out that many wrestlers from across the State have arrived here, the Minister appealed Sakshi to give some tips on honing their skills.
Earlier, the participating sports persons and staff took out a march- past and presented a guard of honour to the dignitaries. Belagavi Division bagged the first prize, while Kalaburagi division got the second prize in the march-past.
Prior to the inauguration of the sports meet, women sportspersons Sandhya, Deepthi, Nishu and Annapurna handed over the ‘Kreeda Jyothi’ (Sports Torch) to Karnataka Olympic Association President K. Govindaraju. Later, it was handed over to Mayor Shivakumar. Thereafter, the sportspersons took the oath.
MYLAC Chairman Raghu R. Kautilya, Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports Commissioner Gopalakrishna, SP R. Chetan, Dasara Sports Sub-Committee President Shivananda, Vice-President Ramesh and others were present.
Sakshi Mallik inaugurates Dasara wrestling
Sakshi Mallik also set off the ‘Point Kusti’ category event of the Dasara wrestling competition at D. Devaraj Urs Multipurpose Sports Stadium at Doddakere Maidan.
Sakshi, who wore the traditional wrestler headgear, waved at the crowd as she entered the wrestling arena by bowing to the ground for the inauguration. Speaking on the occasion, she called upon the wrestlers to continue practice as it will help them in reaching greater heights in the sport. She also asked them never to lose an opportunity for taking part in sporting events, as it is a big step in earning national and international recognition.
Sakshi witnessed the final match of ‘Dasara Panja Kusti’ event.
District Minister S.T. Somashekar, Minister for Higher Education Dr. C.N. Ashwathnarayan, Mayor Shivakumar, MLA L. Nagendra, Additional SP and Dasara Wrestling Sub-Committee Deputy Special Officer B. N. Nandini, Sub-Committee President K. Devaraj, Working President Govindaraju, Vice-Presidents H.S. Vedaraj, Maheshraje Urs and M.M. Rajegowda, Secretary S.J. Harshavardhan and others were present.