Ending days of dejection and disappointment, Sakshi Malik finally brought some cheer to the Indian contingent at Rio on Wednesday by winning the country’s first medal at the ongoing Rio Olympics.
Even though Sakshi lost in the quarterfinals to Russia's Valeria Koblova, she managed to have a shot at the Bronze medal through the Repechage rule.
So what is Repechage?
The Repechage rule is a system which gives losers in the early stages of a wrestling tournament the chance to still compete for the Bronze medal. The rule is applicable from the pre-quarterfinal stage onwards and contestants that lose to the eventual finalists, are eligible to vie for the Bronze.
Consider a scenario where there are 16 wrestlers in the pre-quarterfinal stage divided into two halves of 8 players each. So there are two losing semi-finalists, one from each half who contest against the winner from the previous rounds.
In this manner, two winners in the repechage rounds are each guaranteed a bronze medal. The only pre-condition for the loser to contest the repechage rounds is that the wrestler who won should go on to contest the final.
Sakshi had lost in the quarter-finals to Russia's Valeria Koblova, who went on to reach the finals. As a result of Koblova making it to the final, Sakshi was able to fight it out for the bronze. But since Sakshi reached the quarter-final, she needed only one fight in the repechage round to win the medal.
Sakshi ultimately clinched the Bronze in the 58kg freestyle category by overcoming her Kyrgyzstani opponent Aisuluu Tynybekova.