'Wrestling is a tough sport. If we move away from the moves of wrestling, we move away from the sport. I do attend functions, but take out time for training.'
Rio Olympics bronze medal-winning wrestler Sakshi Malik wasn't fully prepared for last month's Asian Wrestling Championship, her first international event after the quadrennial games, she revealed on Wednesday.
Sakshi, who married to fellow wrestler Satyawart Kadian post the Games, settled for silver in the women's 60kg class in the continental championship held in New Delhi this year.
"Actually, after (Rio) Olympics that (Asian Wrestling Championship) was my first international competition and there was too much gap and I felt that there was some gap in the experience. We cannot say that the preparation was 100 per cent (for the Asian Championship)," Sakshi told reporters in Mumbai.
"Now the training is in full swing and hopefully I will do better in the future," she quipped.
The Haryana-based wrestler was in Mumbai to receive the Woman of the Year award presented to her by the Indian Merchants Chamber's Ladies' Wing at their AGM.
Asked how she felt when she was back on the mat after her Rio performance, she said, "That is the best feeling (to be on the mat). That's the sport I play and because of it I have reached this level. Doing that I get peace (of mind)."
Sakshi, 24, said everyone expected her to bag the gold in the Asian Championship after her Rio display.
"There is pressure, we have to overcome that. The only way to deal with pressure is to do hard work. If I do hard work, there will be confidence."
Sakshi said she made sure she found time to train in the midst of attending social functions.
"There is distraction (of social events). But I take out time for training despite these functions. Wrestling is a tough sport. If we move away from the moves of wrestling, we move away from the sport. I do attend functions, but take out time for training," she said.
She said wrestling will always be the first priority for her.
Sakshi is now aiming to do well in the World Championships to be held in Paris from August 21-26.
"I and the coaches are focusing on things, which we need to improve on. We are working on movements and techniques," she said.
She is now training her sights on next year's Commonwealth Games to be held in Gold Coast, Australia and the Asian Games in Jakarta ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Sakshi insisted marriage has not changed her life as her husband and father-in-law were both wrestlers.
"Not at all for me (life has not changed)! My husband is a wrestler and my father-in-law was a wrestler and Arjuna awardee. When my family belongs to wrestling, I feel I have moved closer to the sport," she signed off.