Wrestler Sakshi Malik features in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2024

Sakshi Malik

Sakshi Malik, India’s first and only female wrestler to win an Olympic medal, has been named in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2024. This recognition is a testament to her influence both within and beyond the wrestling mat.

What led to Sakshi Malik’s feature in Time Magazine

In early 2023, Sakshi Malik, along with a group of India’s most celebrated wrestlers, Bajrang Puni and Vinesh Phogat gathered, at Jantar Mantar, a popular protest site in Delhi. They demanded the immediate arrest and resignation of Brij Bhushan Singh, a powerful ruling party Member of Parliament and chief of the Wrestling Federation of India, who was accused of sexually harassing female athletes.

What began as a small, targeted protest to demand decisive government action in favour of the wrestlers ballooned into a yearlong battle unprecedented in Indian sport. The movement drew support from across the country and attention from across the world. After the wrestlers’ protests, Singh was charged with sexual harassment, stalking, and intimidation.

Sakshi Malik’s role in this movement was pivotal. She stated, “This fight is no longer only for India’s female wrestlers, it is for the daughters of India whose voices have been silenced time and again”. Shortly after Singh’s successor was elected to oversee the Wrestling Federation of India, Sakshi Malik quit the sport in a brave act of defiance. However, she did not quit the battle. Her light, and the light of all those standing against harassment, continues to shine.

Sakshi Malik
Wrestlers during protest against Brij Bhushan Singh. Source: Sakshi Malik on X

Her story is a powerful reminder that influence is not just about personal achievements, but also about the impact one can have on society. Sakshi Malik has used her platform to fight for justice and equality, making her one of the most influential people of 2024.

Other athletes on this year’s list included star F1 racer Max Verstappen of the Netherlands. Alongside Sakshi Malik, one more female athlete, Jenni Hermoso of Spain, an icon of women’s football, has been featured on this list.

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