What is Repechage Rule in wrestling?
- Repechage Rule is a clause that allows a contestant a second chance to fight for a third-spot
- The term repechage is derived from the french word 'repecher', meaning rescue
- Three Indian wrestlers have benefited from the rule
Repechage Rule is a clause that allows a contestant or a team a second chance to fight for a third-spot despite having been eliminated early in the competition. The term repechage is derived from the french word 'repecher', as per Olympics website. In English, it means rescue.
How does Repechage Rule work in wrestling?
Two bronze medals are awarded in wrestling competitions. So let's assume wrestler A has been defeated in pre-quarters by wrestler B. But, if wrestler B makes it to the final of the event, the opponents she/he has defeated will qualify for the repechage round. In other words, they get a second chance and move to a series of knock out rounds. There are two slots in each category and the winner of each will then compete with the two losing semifinalists for bronze medals.
When was it first introduced at the Olympics?
The repechage rule was first introduced at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. And one of the beneficiaries was Indian wrestler Sushil Kumar. Having suffered a defeat in the pre-quarters of the 66kg event, Kumar came back due to this rule and went on to win the bronze in 2008 Olympics.
Why the rule?
The concept behind the rule is that a promising sportsperson shouldn’t suffer just because they had a tough early draw.
How many Indian wrestlers have benefited from repechage?
Sushil Kumar won the first-ever Olympics bronze for India when the repechage rule was implemented in Beijing.
Yogeshwar Dutt brought home a bronze in wrestling at the 2012 London Games. He lost to Russian Besik Kudukhov in the round-of-16. Kudukhov went on to enter the final. Yogeshwar then defeated Doug Schwab and Albert Batyrov in the repechage before defeating Leonid Spiridonov to win a bronze.
In 2016, Sakshi Malik shone at Rio 2016, becoming the first female wrestler to win a medal after clinching bronze via repechage. The Indian lost to Valeria Koblova in the quarter-finals before beating Purevdorjiin Orkhon and Aisuluu Tynybekova to take bronze.