It was meant to be a regular day at practice for U-23 Worlds Bronze medalist Nisha Dahiya, as she geared up for the National Wrestling Championships in Gonda. However, by the end of it, the shocked youngster was busy proving that she was alive after a namesake of hers was shot dead in Haryana.
Hundreds of fellow grapplers, coaches and officials, who had assembled here, were stunned when news trickled in that Nisha had been shot to death outside an academy in Sonepat.
"I am fine," said Nisha when PTI contacted her.
Nisha, who recently won a bronze medal at the Under-23 World Wrestling Championship in Belgrade, was practicing at the venue when she was told the news. However, it didn't take long for everyone to realize that the murdered woman was a trainee wrestler, who happened to go by the same name.
Nisha said her phone hasn't stopped ringing ever since reports mixed up the identities of the two women.
"I got to know about this unfortunate incident about one hour back when I was practicing for the Nationals and I was taken aback. Then I started getting calls from my family and friends," said the young wrestler. "Obviously everybody is happy to realize that I am alive. I am preparing for the tournament now," she added.
Prior to this, Nisha also shot a video of herself, sitting alongside Olympic bronze-medalist Sakshi Malik, in which she assured that she was fine.
- Sakshi Malik (@SakshiMalik) November 10, 2021
It was the Wrestling Federation that asked her to make that video and post it on social media.
This was after WFI Assistant secretary, Vinod Tomar sought to figure out what exactly had happened. He spoke to Nisha's physio, who was surprised to hear what was being asked from him. "I called him and he told me that Nisha was practicing with him only at that moment. Then we asked Nisha to shoot a video and send the message across that she is safe," Tomar said.
Last-minute preparations at the Nandini Nagar Sports Complex, including the verification of the entries, had come to a halt thanks to the confusion, causing delays. The officials are now back on the job.
Wrestling coach, Randhir Malik, who travelled with the Indian women team to the Worlds, where Nisha won a bronze, shared some information about the the woman who had died.
"The girl who died was a newcomer hailing from Halalpur village in Sonepat. She is also Nisha Dahiya but not the one who went to the U23 World championship. She comes from a small village and has just started playing the sport," he said. The WFI secretary said that though she was a newcomer, it still was a loss for the sport.
"Yes, this Nisha is safe but we have lost someone. I don't know much about her but the fraternity has lost someone in such a tragic way. I don't know where she trained," he said.