babita kumari
Babita remains India's final hope for another medal from women's wrestling in Rio 2016. Pictured: India's Babita Kumari poses with her silver medal for the 51kg women's freestyle wrestling event at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi October 8, 2010.Reuters

One medal has already been won and history has been made. Sakshi Malik became the first ever woman wrestler from India to grab a medal at the Olympics. Wednesday remained full of mixed emotions as while Sakshi won the bronze, the real biggest medal contender from Indian women's wrestling Vinesh Phogat suffered a heartbreaking exit from Rio 2016.

The last of the three women freestyle wrestlers from India to have qualified for the games – Babita Kumari – gets set for action in the women's 53kg freestyle wrestling category on Thursday.

The 26-year-old grappler from Bhiwani, a gold medallist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, goes head-to-head with Maria Prevolaraki of Greece in the pre-quarters at the at the Carioca Arena 2 in Rio de Janeiro. Catch the match report here.

Geeta Phogat, the first Indian woman Olympian from wrestling, has said that her younger sister Babita could turn out to be the dark horse, just like Sakshi, who remained splendid especially in the final half of the six-minute bouts, winning points right at the death.

"Babita is very similar to Vinesh but her strength is attacking," 27-year-old Geeta told the Times of India. "Mentally, the advantage for Vinesh and Babita will be the fact that they have competed at the best international competitions, so they know the pressure of performing on the big stage.

"Having participated at the Games [in London 2012] I gave the girls a low down on what to expect in terms of competition and atmosphere. But the key thing I told them was to get on to the mat and forget the surrounding and concentrate on the match, just the way they would do back home during practice," added the Arjuna Award winner.

Babita's opponent Maria, meanwhile, is a gold medallist at the 2013 Mediterranean Games, held in Turkey.


Women's 53kg freestyle wrestling: Babita Kumari vs Maria Prevolaraki is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. IST start on Aug. 18.

Where to watch live

India: TV: Star Sports Network, DD National. Live streaming: Hotstar.

UK: TV: BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four. Live streaming: BBC Red Button.

USA: TV: NBC Sports. Live streaming: NBC Olympics.

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