Indian wrestler Sakshi Malik. (File Photo: IANS). Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, Feb 21 : Sakshi Malik lost a closely fought gold medal match in the 65kg category at the Asian Wrestling Championships here on Friday. The weight class she was fighting in was a non-Olympic one due to her defeat in the trials before the tournament to 18-year-old Sonam in 62kg.

Sonam, who was making her senior debut in the tournament, went on to lose her bronze medal match 0-11.

Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh had said after the trials that another set of trials may be conducted ahead of the Asian Olympic qualifiers if the performances of those in the Olympic weight categories at the Asian meet were deemed unsatisfactory.

Sakshi had lauded the decision, and on Friday she reiterated that she hopes another trial is conducted.

"Let's see if the federation conducts the trials or not. It's completely up to the President. It will be good if they conduct it," Sakshi told reporters after her bout at the KD Jadhav wrestling hall here.

If a trial is conducted, she could be facing Sonam again, but Sakshi said that she does not see the cadet world champion as a rival.

"I am not challenging her, she is very junior to me. I don't challenge anyone, everyone is here to win and do well," she said.

Sakshi also said that she was not satisfied with her performance at the Asian Championships. "All the tough competitors are in the 62kg category, but I was surprised by how attacking her game was," Sakshi said, referring to Japan's Naomi Ruike whom she faced in the final.

"This was the first time I was fighting her. I had tried to attack in the beginning but was not too successful in doing that. I probably should have been more aggressive," she said.

Her coach Kuldeep Singh said that it was a botched leg attack that Sakshi initiated, which led to her opponent getting two points. She went on to lose the bout 0-2.

"She was a bit too far away from her opponent when she initiated the attack. If she was not, she would have got it right and the bout would have been different because the rest of the contest was very close," he said.

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