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Rio Olympics 2016: Wrestler Sakshi Malik wins bronze, gives India its first medal

Sakshi Malik (R) of India competed against Valeriia Koblova Zholobova of Russia during a Women's Freestyle 58 kg quarterfinal bout at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Photograph: (Getty)

Others Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Aug 17, 2016, 09.34 PM (IST)
India has finally managed to open their medal account in the ongoing Rio Olympics as wrestler Sakshi Malik clinched a bronze in the women's freestyle 58 kg event after defeating Asian number 1 Aisuluu Tynybekova of Kyrgyztan 8-5 here today.

Although the 23-year-old was trailing 0-5 against her Kyrgyzstani opponent after the first period, she bounced back in style to hand India its fourth bronze medal in wrestling in the Olympic history.

Prior to this, Malik won her repechage round 2 bout by beating Mongolia's Purevdorj Orkhon 12-3 to advance to the bronze-medal match. 

Malik had earlier suffered a major setback as she went down 2-9 against Russia's Valeriia Koblova in the quarter-finals of the event. She, however, had brought herself back into the medal contention after her Russian opponent made it to the finals of the freestyle 58 kg event.

With the win, Malik has now become only the fourth Indian woman athlete to win an Olympic medal after Karnam Malleshwari, Mary Kom and Saina Nehwal. She has also become the fourth Indian wrestler to win a medal in Olympics after Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav,two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt.

Indian Prime Minister congratulated the freestyle wrestler, hailing from the northern Haryana, on the microblogging site Twitter. 

"Sakshi Malik creates history! Congratulations to her for the Bronze. The entire nation is rejoicing. On this very auspicious day of Raksha Bandhan (a Hindu festival celebrated by siblings in India) , Sakshi Malik, a daughter of India, wins a Bronze & makes all of us very proud," he tweeted. 

"Hearty Congratulations to #SakshiMalik for winning a medal in women's wrestling in #Rio2016 and doing India proud," Indian President Pranab Mukherjee also said in his official Twitter handle.

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