The 23-year-old wrestler from Mokhra village near Rohtak, Sakshi Malik, who recently won India's first medal at the ongoing Rio Olympics, wanted to become a sportsperson to fly in an aeroplane. She made the revelation in an interview after she won the bronze medal in the 58 kg category in women's freestyle wrestling.
"I never knew what Olympics was, I wanted to become a sportsperson to travel in an aeroplane. If you can represent India, you can board a plane, and fly," she told PTI.
Taking a cue from Malik's speech, India's flag carrier airline Air India has now offered her two business-class return tickets for Malik and her chosen companion to any destination across the globe in the airline's existing network. The tickets are valid for the next one year.
In a letter dated 19 August and addressed to Malik, Ashwani Lohani, the Chairperson and Managing Director of Air India wrote that the was touched by her desire to travel. The tickets being offered to her are a mark of "recognition and gratitude" for her performance at Rio, he wrote.
"I recently read your statement... and was indeed touched by the same."
The Indian Railways is also going to felicitate the wrestler and give her a handsome prize of ₹60 lakh.
Malik defeated Kyrgyzstan's Aisuluu Tynybekova in women's freestyle 58 kg wrestling, claiming India's first medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. She defeated Tynybekova (8-5) in a nail-biting contest contest for the Bronze medal in which she fought back from 0-5. After catching up 5-5 in the second period of the match, scoring two points by throwing Tynybekova on the mat, she pulled ahead by pinning down her rival in the final moments of the match.
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