Sakshi Malik clinched the bronze medal for India in the 58kgs freestyle wrestling category at the Rio Olympics and made millions of Indians proud, but her victory was snatched in the nick of time, with everyone left guessing who would win the match till the very end.
At the start of the match, Sakshi’s Kyrgyzstani opponent Aisuluu Tynybekova did not let the 23-year-old Indian take her down as she came on strong and reeled off five consecutive points.
Sakshi was determined to make a comeback and quickly made amends in the second round. She bagged two points in consecutive sets and then pushed on to get one more, to tie it at 5-5.
With only 30 seconds remaining in the bout, both wrestlers knew that these last few moments would be the most important, but Sakshi did not relax, and carried on tenaciously to achieve two more points.
She stood one point away from claiming the bronze medal. Just as time was running out, and with barely three seconds left to full time, Sakshi seized the moment and scored a point. But just when we thought that the match was in the bag, some tense moments ensued as Tynybekova's coaches challenged the point.
Officials watched the replay of the last few seconds as Indian supporters waited with bated breath for the final verdict.
After a few excruciating moments, the score ticked over from 7-5 to 8-5 in favour of Sakshi, much to the delight of the ecstatic fans in the audience, ensuring her a bronze medal.
India thus bagged its first medal of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
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