India’s agonizing wait for an Olympic medal at the Rio Games ended when Sakshi Malik made history by winning bronze in the 58kg freestyle bout beating Kyrgysztan’s Aisuluu Tynybekova.
The 23-year-old from Haryana, a silver medallist at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and bronze winner at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, earned a dramatic come-from-behind 8-5 win over Tynybekova in the bronze medal play-off.
Sakshi’s victory came after falling behind 0-5 following the first period in the do-or-die bout. The Indian 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.
Sakshi is the first woman wrestler from India to bag an Olympic medal and only the fourth female athlete from the country to climb up the podium at the biggest sporting event.
“Meri 12 saal ki tapasya rang layi [It’s the result of my 12 years’ of dedication]. Geeta didi, my senior, had qualified for the first time in London,” Sakshi said.
“I never thought I would become the first woman wrestler from India to bag an Olympic medal in wrestling. I hope the remaining wrestlers will also do well,” she said.
Meanwhile, P V Sindhu remains India’s lone medal hope in the badminton event after Kidambi Srikanth suffered a fighting loss against two-time defending champion Lin Dan in the men’s singles quarterfinals at the Rio Olympics on Wednesday.
Sindhu scripted a stellar 22-20, 21-19 win against former world number one and London Games silver medallist Wang Yihan to enter the women’s semifinals. A win against Japan’s Nozomo Okuhara in the semifinal tomorrow will assure Sindhu of a historic medal.
However, India’s campaign in the men’s singles ended today after Srikanth, who had beaten the five-time World Champion Lin Dan in the 2014 China Open final, suffered a 6-21 21-11 18-21 loss against the World No. 3 in a nerve-wrecking quarterfinal.