India's wait for its first Rio Olympics medal finally came to an end on Day 13, after wrestler Sakshi Malik won bronze medal in the women's Freestyle 58kg category here on Wednesday (August 17). The 23-year-old wrestler from Haryana's Rohtak district won two back-to-back matches to clinch a bronze medal via Repechage bouts. Sakshi defeated Kyrgyzstan's Aisuluu Tynybekova 8-5 to clinch her maiden bronze medal in the final round.
She also became the first Indian woman grappler to win an Olympic medal. Trailing by 0-5 against Tynybekova, the Indian came back strongly in the final two minutes to win the final bout and the match. Malik defeated Orkhon Purevdorj of Mongolia in the Repechage Round 2 of the Women's Freestyle 58kg category to move within one win from a medal.
The Haryana wrestler was too superior for the 22-year-old Mongolian and dominated right from the start. Sakshi grabbed the early advantage and effected a takedown to take a 2-0 lead. But a loss of balance from Sakshi allowed the Mongolian to take two points and make a comeback. Sakshi did catch Orkhon off-guard with an arm-lock towards the end of the first round, but could not capitalise on that.
Sakshi grabbed the initiative right at the start of the second round, bagging two points with double leg hold. But Sakshi's efforts to preserve her lead by decreasing the pace cost her dearly as the referee invoked the passivity rule against her which allowed Orkhon to bag another point.
Orkhon then tried to go for a leg hold but Sakshi came up with an effective counter-attack to bring the Mongolian down before rolling her over to bolster her lead. With a comfortable 10-7 lead behind her, Sakshi produced a strong finish by coming up with another take down in the closing seconds.