This Woman's Hometown Is Getting Almost As Much Attention As Her Olympic Medal

Sakshi Malik is India's new heroine.

Sakshi Malik became an overnight star in India when she won the country's first medal at the Rio Olympics, bagging bronze in the women's 58 kg freestyle wrestling event. 

As the first woman wrestler from India to win an Olympic medal, Malik cemented her name in the history books. But what makes the 23-year-old's accomplishment all the more remarkable is that it comes in spite of the conservative, patriarchal culture she grew up in in Rohtak, Haryana.

Haryana, an Indian state located in the north of the country, has a reputation for treating women like second-class citizens. Male-dominated village councils in Haryana have issued decrees dictating how women should behave and what they should wear. "Honor" killings and female feticide are rampant; Haryana has one of the most imbalanced gender ratios in the country.

Leading up to the Olympics, Malik reportedly said in an interview that growing up, villagers mocked her for wrestling with boys and wearing shorts. Her parents, too, were cautioned that a daughter who wrestled would be undesirable to potential husbands.

Malik's triumph over these sexist conditions in which she — and many other women — grew up isn't lost on the Indian people. Many people took to Twitter to celebrate Malik, as well as badminton player PV Sindhu, — another woman! — who took home silver in the women's singles.

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