Wrestler Sakshi ends India’s agonising wait, wins bronze

By Tapan Mohanta Rio de Janeiro, Aug 18 (PTI) Gritty woman wrestler SakshiMalik ended India’s painful wait for a medal at the RioOlympic Games by clinching the bronze in the 58kg category,pulling off a sensational 8-5 victory over Aisuluu Tynybekovain the Play-off bout, here. The 23-year-old from Rohtak became only the fourth womanathlete from India to win an Olympic medal as she earned thedramatic win after falling behind 0-5 in the do-or-die bout onday 12. Weightlifter Karnam Malleshwari (2000, Sydney), boxer MCMary Kom (2012, London) and shuttler Saina Nehwal (2012,London) were the only other women players from India to havewon a medal in Olympics. Like in three of the four other bouts earlier in the day,Sakshi won the crucial bout after coming from behind. She, infact, had lost 2-9 in the quarter-finals to Russia’s ValeriiaKoblova in the fifth bout of the day before getting a secondchance in repechage when her conqueror reached the final. Sakshi’s victory brought cheers to the Indian contingentthat had endured agonising 11 days without a medal. Sakshi turned the tables on the Kyrgyzstan wrestler inthe dying seconds of the bout as Tynybekova was in completecommand in most part of the clash. Tynybekova grabbed Sakshi’s leg and quickly earned twopoints before adding one more for the Indian’s passivity. She repeated her move and successfully bagged two morepoints to lead 5-0 at the break. Sakshi could open the scoring only in the second periodand got two points after throwing her rival down and out ofthe mat. She then managed to earn two points again with asimilar move to bring down the margin to 4-5. Thereafter, it was no looking back for the Indian girland she took the opponent down to level the scores 5-5. Butshe did not stop there and gained three more points by pinningdown the Kyrgyzstan wrestler in the dying moments of thematch. She had earlier stormed into the bronze medal play-offround with a dominating performance in her repechage round,where she thrashed Purevdorjiin Orkhon of Mongolia 12-3.Both the wrestlers matched each other in the first period andthe scores were 2-2 at the break. But Sakshi gave a more aggressive account of herself inthe second period, pinning down her opponent from time totime, besides flipping her over for crucial points. Starting with a double-leg take down to earn two points,she added two more crucial points to her kitty to lead 6-3with a minute left. More PTI CM AT SSRSSR

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