In Boxing, both losing semi-finalists are awarded a bronze medal. MC Mery Kom won her bronze medal in the Women’s 51 kg Flyweight category.
Women’s Boxing was introduced for the first time in Olympics but only in flyweight, middleweight, and lightweight category. Mery Kom who won a Gold Medal in 45, 46 and 48 kg at Women’s World Amateur Boxing Championships five times between 2002 and 2010 punched above her weight to become one of the 12 contestants who qualified for 51 kg flyweight category at London Olympics. She defeated Karolina Michalczuk of Poland in Round of 16 and Maroua Rahali of Tunisia in Quarter-finals to ensure a bronze medal. She lost to eventual gold medallist Nicola Adams in the semis. She is now only the third Indian woman to win an Olympic bronze medal.
There are two bronze medals to be won in Wrestling as well but losing semi-finalists are not guaranteed a bronze medal. Instead some players who lost in an earlier knock-out round are ‘rescued‘. In Full Repechage, a competitor who loses to the pool winner drops into the repechage bracket. The theory is that a worthy competitor who is paired with another worthy competitor should not be unduly penalized by luck of the draw, but have an opportunity to fight for the bronze medal.
Dutt defeated Anatolie Ilarionovitch Guidea in the Qualifier round but lost to eventual finalist Besik Kudukhov in the Round of 16. He was ‘fished out’ along with Franklin Gomez Matos, who was knocked out in Qualifiers, Masoud Esmaeilpoorjouybari, beaten in Quarter-finals, and Jong Myong Ri, who lost in semis to Besik Kudukhov. Thus four competitors were dropped into the repechage bracket for that half. Yogeshwar played three matches in an hour to clinch his place on the podium.
He beat Gomez in two straight rounds in Repechage 1 to play with the losing Quarter-finalist in Repechage 2. He lost to Esmaeilpour in the opening round but recovered in the next two for a Bronze Medal Match with the semi-finalist. North Korean Ri won the tightly contested first round with a solitary point. In another close fight, Dutt returned the favour in second round. Yogeshwar won a point in the final round, then one more, followed by yet another and on and on to win that round 6-0 and claim India’s fourth bronze medal at the London Olympics 2012.
The eventual bronze medallist ultimately has to win four matches and lose one. Yogeshwar Dutt beat two Qualifiers (Guidea & Gomez), a quarter-finalist (Esmaeilpour) and a semi-finalist (Jong Myong RI) but lost in Round of 16 to Besik Kudukhov. It is a fair method to determine a worthy bronze medallist even if the player lost in an earlier round.
Congratulations to Mery Kom and Yogeshwar Dutt!