The Olympic wrestling format - how Sushil won the bronze

August 20th, 2008 - 6:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 20 (IANS) It may be the ultimate rural sport in India, but the rules and the format of how the entire wrestling competition takes place at the Olympics and Asian Games level is still a mystery for most followers.Sushil Kumar’s bronze medal will probably highlight the format of the sport.

In fact, so little is known about the wrestling format that numerous media reports after Sushil Kumar’s loss in the morning round said he had been eliminated, though he was still alive in the competition.

Sushil’s fate hung in the balance till his Ukrainian conqueror Andriy Stadnik reached the final, at which point Sushil got an entry into the Repechage contest and a chance to fight for the bronze. He went on to win three bouts and grab the bronze, which was India’s second medal after Abhinav Bindra’s gold in shooting.

All wrestlers who lose against the finalists get Repechage matches. There are two separate groups of Repechage: one group of wrestlers who had lost against the first finalist, and another group of wrestlers who had lost against the second finalist.

The wrestling competition is held by arriving at an ideal number of wrestlers - that is 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, and so on. If there is no ideal number of wrestlers in a category, qualification matches take place.

In the case of Sushil Kumar’s category, there were 21 wrestlers. So, after giving a bye to 11 wrestlers - by draw numbers - the other 10 were paired off, with the numbers drawn at random.

Sushil was one of the 11 wrestlers who drew a bye in the first round, while Stadnik came through the qualification, where he beat Dug Schwab.

The Repechage matches feature all wrestlers who lost in the first round - including in matches to obtain the ideal number - against one of the two finalists up to the losers in the semi-finals, by direct elimination.

The winners of the two Repechage groups each receive the bronze medal.

The main competition begins with a weigh-in one day before the actual competition and then on the day of the event, it starts with the Qualification round (if required) to arrive at an ideal number (4,8,16,32,64) and then the elimination rounds. The Repechage stage is arrived at after the two finalists have been identified.

Each weight category begins and ends in a day.

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