Ravi Dahiya on Thursday suffered a defeat against reigning world champion Russian Zavur Uguev to bag silver at the Tokyo Olympics. In the final bout of men’s freestyle 57kg, Uguev raced to a 4-2 lead in the first period and extended it in the second to win the contest by a 7-4 margin.
Dahiya, nonetheless, etched his name on record books as he became the fifth Indian wrestler to win an Olympic medal. KD Jadhav had become India’s first wrestler and also the first individual Olympic medallist when he won a bronze during the 1952 Helsinki Games. Dahiya’s silver India’s fifth medal overall at the Tokyo Olympics so far.
Sushil Kumar at the 2008 Beijing Olympics had won bronze, reinvigorating India’s wrestling prowess at the Games. He then went on to better the colour of his medal at the 2012 London Olympics by claiming silver. Ravi’s medal is the nation’s first Olympic medal in Indian wrestling (men’s) in nine years.
Ravi Dahiya’s road to the final
Dahiya made a confident start to his campaign, winning by technical superiority against Colombia’s Tigreros Urbano in the pre-quarters. Showing his technical prowess, Dahiya raced to a winning 13-2 lead in the second period. He nailed the win with one minute and 10 seconds still remaining in the bout. Apart from conceding a take-down in the first period, Ravi had total command of the match.
Ravi remained dominant in his quarter-final bout against Bulgaria’s Georgi Valentinov Vangelov too. The Indian powerhouse dispelled Vangelov 14-4 to set up the semi-final clash against Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan.
The 23-year-old from Sonipat stormed into the final by defeating Sanayev in a thrilling semis bout. Ravi sensationally turned around the 57kg semifinal by pinning the Kazakhstan wrestler. He regrouped and got hold of his rival with a double leg attack that resulted in a victory by fall (VFA).