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Template:Unreferenced Repechage (Template:Lang-fr, lit. re-fishing), meaning "to rescue" or "to save", is a practice amongst ladder competitions that allows participants that failed to meet qualifying standards by a small margin to continue to the next round.

In track athletics, automatic qualification for the next round is given to the best competitors in each heat. Other competitors with the best times may also qualify for the next round indirectly as "fastest losers" as a result of the repechage. If a particular heat was significantly faster than the others, the repechage spots can be all taken by athletes from that heat.

In field athletics, automatic qualification for the next round depends on meeting or surpassing a specified minimum result. The remaining qualification spots (if any) are given in order to the best results.

In karate, judo, taekwondo, and wrestling tournaments, single elimination brackets are used to determine the two athletes who will compete in the final match for first and second place. The repechage bracket is built by selecting all of the athletes who were knocked out by the finalists and building brackets to determine third place. Repechage addresses the possibility of two top competitors meeting in an early round, allowing the loser a chance to compete for a bronze medal.

In the 24-team version of the soccer FIFA World Cup, the best four teams in third place progressed to the knockout stage. This is similar to the Wild Card berths that would be awarded to teams in the NFL with the best records outside of the division winners. This format, though, has been abandoned in favor of the 32-team format, in which the two best teams of each of the eight groups proceed to the knockout stage.

In rugby football, the qualification processes for the Rugby Union World Cup and Rugby League World Cup use a repechage system. The Air New Zealand Cup, New Zealand's domestic professional competition in union, used the repechage in 2006, but scrapped it for 2007.

It is also used in rowing. Often only the first one or two boats in a race will qualify automatically for the next round, and all of the other boats must race again in one or more special heats (known as the repechage) to qualify. Because conditions such as wind vary between the heats, often significantly affecting a competitor's time, rowing's repechage system allows the "fastest losers" to qualify independent of the variable conditions in the opening heats.

A repechage heat is also used occasionally in the Cycling sport of Keirin. These heats give a second chance for non-qualifiers in the initial heat to advance to the next round of competition.

Repechage was formerly widely used in fencing tournaments, but the majority have now abandoned it - an exception being United States Fencing Association Division I tournaments.

Double Elimination[]

One form of repechage is double elimination, in which a team that loses a game in the "Winners' Bracket" moves to the "Losers' Bracket" (the repechage) and must lose again to be eliminated. In its pure form, when all but one competitor has lost once in the Winners' Bracket, and all but one of the losing competitors have lost a second time and been eliminated from the tournament, these two survivors face off for the championship. If the winner of the Losers' Bracket receives its second loss here, they are eliminated, but if they are able to defeat the winner of the Winners' Bracket, it is considered a tie with one loss each, they must compete again to determine the championship. However, there are variations that handle the final championship differently.

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