Credit: X

Credit: X

India’s first and only female wrestler to win Olympic medalist, Sakshi Malik has been included in TIME’s 2024 list of the top 100 most influential people. The 31-year-old, a household name, garnered headlines once again in the early months of 2023, when she, along with several other celebrated actors of the nations gathered at the Jantar Mantar to protest against the then WFI President Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, for allegedly sexually harassing seven female wrestlers, including a minor. 

The protests, which started on a small scale turned out to be a year-long battle and drew attention from sports fans. Bhushan was not only removed from the position of the WFI chief but the body was also suspended and Singh’s family was banned from contesting elections of the wrestling body’s elections, such was the influence of Malik and other wrestlers. 

Sakshi Malik features on TIME’s Top 100 Influential People’s list

TIME honoured the torchbearer of Indian female wrestling Malik by including her in their 2024 list of the top 100 most influential people. The 2016 Olympics bronze medalist has been included in the icon category, along with American actress Taraji Henson, Spanish female football Jennifer Hermoso, Canadian actor, and producer Elliot Page and more. 

Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Nisha Pahuja described Malik’s act of quitting the sport as a protest, “Shortly after Singh’s successor, a close ally and business partner, was elected to oversee the Wrestling Federation of India, Sakshi Malik—in an emotional, public, and very brave act of defiance—quit the sport. She did not, however, quit the battle. Her light, and the light of all those standing against harassment, continues to shine.”