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Haryana wrestler Sakshi Malik takes India to Rio podium

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 11 February 2017, 6:43 IST

Sakshi Malik, the Haryanvi wrestler has just won India's first medal at the Rio Olympics. In the process, she has also become the first woman wrestler from India to win an Olympic medal, clincing the bronze in the women's freestyle 58 kg category. Malik beat Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan in the bronze medal match 8-5. It was a sensational comeback by the Indian as she was trailing 0-5, courtesy two take-downs from the Kyrgyzstan wrestler, at halftime.

It was a thrilling contest that saw Sakshi producing a three-point move in the final seconds to seal the bout and bring home India's first medal from the Rio Games. Malik had reached the repechage rounds of the women's freestyle 58kg event as Russia's Valeria Koblova - the opponent she lost to in the quarterfinals - progressed to the final.

Malik took on Mongolian wrestler Orkhon Purevdorj and outplayed her 12-3 to advance to the bronze medal match.

It was a series of comebacks for the Haryanvi wrestler. Malik came back from 0-4 down to post an impressive 5-4 win over her Swedish opponent -- Malin Johanna Mattsson -- to advance to the pre-quarterfinals. In the Round of 16, Malik overcame Mariana Cherdivara-Esanu of Moldova 5-5 (with a single four point tak-edown) to advance to the quarterfinals. There, Malik lost to Russia's Valeria Zholobova Koblova 2-9.

The dominant Japanese wrestler Kaori Icho won the gold, beating Koblova in the final. Icho created history by becoming the first woman in any sport to win an individual gold medal in four different Olympic Games. She has won the gold at the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.

First published: 18 August 2016, 3:28 IST