Sonam Malik suffered a defeat against Mongolia’s Bolortuya Khurelkhuu in the opening round of the 62 kg women’s wrestling at the Olympics on Tuesday. The Mongolian won 2-2 on technicality. Sonam's final hopes of staying alive in the competition also ended after Khurelkhuu bowed out in the quarterfinal round.
Both wrestlers had a cautious start to the first-round bout. The Mongolian wrestler was more passive in her wrestling and hence was put on a 30-second clock.
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It meant she either scored or a point was to be awarded to Sonam Malik. Khurelkhuu, who is the 2021 Asian Championship silver medalist, tried to attack but the Indian countered it with her brute strength.
Sonam Malik opened the scoring with a push-out. She then followed it up with another point via push out, ending the first half with a 2-0 lead.
The second half saw more action from both wrestlers.
Sonam Malik, who relies a lot on her upper body strength, went for a leg attack but Khurelkhuu successfully evaded it.
In the final 20 seconds, Khurelkuu used her experience and went for a successful takedown to score two points.
The Mongolian won due to a technicality. According to the United World Wrestling (UWW) rulebook, if the score is tied at the end of the six-minute time period, the wrestler with maximum points in a single move is declared the winner.
Khurelkhuu faced world silver medalist Taybe Mustafa Yusein (BUL) in the quarterfinal. The Bulgarian grappler dominated the bout and won 10-0 on technical superiority.
While Khurelkhuu’s repechage hopes are still alive, Sonam Malik’s Olympics is over.
What is repechage in wrestling?
In wrestling, repechage comes into effect for the wrestlers who lose in the pre-quarterfinals and last eight. It allows the grapplers a chance to revive themselves and get a shot at the bronze medal. However, the repechage rule only applies if the opponent they lost to reaches the final. The winner then faces the losing semi-finalist for the bronze medal bout.