Woman wrestler Sakshi Malik was one step away from bagging India’s first medal at the Rio Olympic 2016 as she stormed into the bronze medal play-off with a dominating 12-3 victory in her 58kg repechage bout.
Sakshi gave no chance to Purevdorjiin Orkhon of Mongolia as she bagged as many as 10 points in the second period after the scores were tied 2-2 at the break.
Sakshi put up a dominating performance, pinning down her opponent from time to time, besides flipping her over to gain valuable points.
The Mongolian girl, in contrast, could earn just one point in the second period to go down tamely in the end.
Sakshi will now take on Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyzstan in the bronze medal play-off.
There are two bronze medals on offer in the wrestling event. The 23-year-old got a shot to fight for the bronze medal despite losing in the quarterfinals as the girl who had beaten her in the last eight round Valeriia Koblova reached the final of 58kg.
As Sakshi had reached the quarterfinals in this category, she had to fight only one repechage round as compared to two opponents for the other Russian girl, whom she had beaten in the earlier two rounds pre-quarters and qualification.
Koblova had beaten Luisa Niemesch of Germany in the qualification round before defeating Mongolia’s Orkhon in the pre-quarterfinals.
Sakshi had to get the better of the Mongolian girl in the repechage round 2 and she did just that to advance to the bronze medal play-off.
Earlier, Sakshi went down in the quarterfinals after losing 2-9 to Koblova. Having conceded one point in the first period of her quarterfinal fight because of passivity, Sakshi did well to earn two points in the second period after taking-down the Russian girl.
But Koblova, with enormous strength, hit back almost immediately to pocket four points and then gained another two to open up a 7-2 lead.
The Russian then closed the door on Sakshi by bagging another two points to win the bout and make the semifinals. In the first two rounds, Sakshi came back from behind to register impressive wins.