Wrestler Ravi Dahiya enters final, to aim for Olympic gold next
Tokyo, Aug. 4 (IANS): Indian grappler Ravi Kumar Dahiya assured India of at least a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics when he stormed into the men’s 57kg freestyle final with a ‘victory by fall’ over Kazakhstan’s NurislamSanayev in the semifinal on Wednesday.
Dahiya became only the second Indian wrestler in history after Sushil Kumar — who had entered the 2012 London Olympics final but ended up winning silver — to make it to the title round at the quadrennial showpiece.
The Indian wrestler, who is making his Olympic debut, will face Russian Olympic Committee’s (ROC) ZavurUguev — a two-time world champion — in the final.
The Tokyo Olympic Games twitter handle ‘#Tokyo2020’ too got into the act of applauding the Indian grappler’s massive achievement, tweeting, “He was 3-9 down, with momentum and time against him. But he still didn’t lose heart and with a couple of amazing offensive moves, pinned down a two-time world championship medallist. (Clapping hands sign). Ravi Kumar Dahiya, you are a champion! (Raising hands sign)”
It was a victory for the ages as the 23-year-old Dahiya — who has trained under Satpal Singh at the Chhatrasal Stadium in Delhi since the age of 10 — turned the bout on its head when everything seemed lost of the Indian.
In what was a tight start to the contest at the MakuhariMesse Hall in Chiba, Dahiya conceded the first points due to a passivity call but roared back instantly with a two-point take down.
Leading 2-1 heading into the second period, Dahiya was dealt a massive blow when the action restarted, as Sanayev got behind the Indian, caught hold of his ankles and twirled him around a few times to flip the score 9-2 in his favour.
The son of a farmer, who has worked all his life on rented paddy fields and would travel 28km every day from Nahri Village to the Chhatrasal Stadium to deliver milk and fruits to his son to supplement Dahiya’s diet, did not disappoint his parents.
Desperately looking to turn things around, Dahiya made a brilliant comeback by first managing to push Sanayev out of bounds to reduce the deficit to 9-5. The move apparently injured the Kazakh wrestler, but he decided to continue.
With just 50 seconds left on the clock, Dahiya scored a two-point takedown and converted it to a pin — exposing both his opponent’s shoulders to the mat — and won the bout by fall.
Earlier, Dahiya had entered the semifinal after beating Bulgaria’s GeorgiVangelov in the last-eight (14-4) and Colombia’s Oscar Tigreros in the Round of 16 (13-2) by technical superiority.
Dahiya opened the scoring with an explosive takedown against Vangelov, with the Indian continuously targeting the Bulgarian’s right leg and building a 6-0 lead heading into the second period. In the second period, Dahiya scored from a two-legged takedown to go 8-0 up.
In a series of quick exchanges after that, Dahiya came out on top to build up a 14-4 lead to win the bout by technical superiority.
In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.
In his opening Round-of-16 bout, Dahiya had defeated Colombia’s Oscar Tigreros by technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal spot. The 23-year-old Dahiya showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win 13-2.
Dahiya landed one attack after another, winning by technical superiority with minutes to spare.