Only three Indian women wrestler have won a medal at the World Championships with Alka Tomar in 2006, Geeta Phogat and Babita Phogat in 2012. All three medals were bronze. India had a chance to win a combined of three bronze medals on a single day in Budapest World Championships but Malik suffered a heartbreaking loss in the repechage round. Pooja Dhanda and Ritu Phogat reached the playoff bouts in the women’s 57kg and 50kg weight categories respectively.

After taking a 1-0 lead in the first period, thanks to a passivity point against her opponent Marianna Sastin of Hungary, the Indian conceded a passivity point herself. A step-out with a minute remaining gave the lead back to Sakshi.

For the final 55 seconds, Sakshi tried defending the 2-1 lead and suffered a step-out in the final second to trail 2-2 (last point to Sastin).

India coach Kuldeep Malik challenged the call and lost, eliminating Sakshi from the tournament after the 2-3 loss.

Meanwhile, Ritu and Pooja notched up impressive wins to move closer to their first senior World Championships medals.

Up against 2017 World Championships silver medallist Emilia Alina Vuc of Romania, Ritu was surprised by some quick attacks from Vuc. A takedown in the second minute gave Vuc a 2-0 lead. She then had a stepout followed by another takedown to lead 5-0.

She was in danger of getting pinned after her gut-wrench attempt after a takedown went wrong. But Ritu failed to compete the pin and Vuc overturned the move to lead 8-2 at the break.

The Indian responded in a brilliant manner and worked a takedown each in the fourth and fifth minute of the bout to cut the lead to 6-8.

Though her attacks were lethal, Ritu made good use of the smallest errors Vuc committed.

A single leg attack gave another two more points to Ritu to make the score 8-8. The Indian led on criteria having scored the final point.

She defended her chance for the final minute despite numerous attempts by Vuc to score a point.

In another exciting contest, Pooja Dhanda defeated Alyona Kolesnil of Azerbaijan 8-4 to reach the bronze medal bout against Grace Bullen of Norway in the 57kg category.

The Indian wrestler trailed 0-3 at the break having conceded a passivity point and a takedown in the third minute.

Both wrestlers were cautious throughout the bout and waited for the other to make a mistake.

Dhanda got a four-point throw to counter a attack from Kolesnil in the fifth minute to lead 4-3. She tried sitting on the lead for the final minute and received a warning from the referee.

In the final 10 seconds, Dhanda got another four-point throw to lead 8-3 but the Azerbaijan wrestler reversed it for one point. That was still not enough as Dhanda won 8-4 for a place in the medal bout.