Rio de Janeiro: Gritty woman wrestler Sakshi Malik ended India’s painful wait for a medal at the Rio Olympic Games by clinching the bronze in the 58kg category, pulling off a sensational 8-5 victory over Aisuluu Tynybekova in the Play-off bout, here.
The 23-year-old from Rohtak became only the fourth woman athlete from India to win an Olympic medal as she earned the dramatic win after falling behind 0-5 in the do-or-die bout on day 12.
Weightlifter Karnam Malleshwari (2000, Sydney), boxer MC Mary Kom (2012, London) and shuttler Saina Nehwal (2012, London) were the only other women players from India to have won 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.
Sakshi’s victory brought cheers to the Indian contingent that had endured agonising 11 days without a medal.
Sakshi turned the tables on the Kyrgyzstan wrestler in the dying seconds of the bout as Tynybekova was in complete command in most part of the clash.
Tynybekova grabbed Sakshi’s leg and quickly earned two points before adding one more for the Indian’s passivity.
She repeated her move and successfully bagged two more points to lead 5-0 at the break.
Sakshi could open the scoring only in the second period and got two points after throwing her rival down and out of the mat. She then managed to earn two points again with a similar move to bring down the margin to 4-5.
Thereafter, it was no looking back for the Indian girl and she took the opponent down to level the scores 5-5. But she did not stop there and gained three more points by pinning down the Kyrgyzstan wrestler in the dying moments of the match.