That is thanks to 23 year old from Sonipat in Haryana – Ravi Kumar Dahiya.
Ravi, stormed into the men’s freestyle 57kg semi-final with two huge wins in the 1/8 and 1/4 finals, first beating a Colombian wrestler 13-2 and then getting the better of a Bulgarian wrestler 14-4.
And then he produced a masterful come from behind win in his semi-final bout against a wrestler from Kazakhstan. He was trailing 1-9, before he made it 5-9. And then, with his opponent needing a medical time out and losing momentum, Ravi attacked, pinning down his opponent to win the bout and enter the final.
RAVI ADVANCES TO FINAL!!#IND #RaviDahiya advances to the Final of Men’s freestyle 57 Kg by Victory by fall (VFA)… https://t.co/lX94JCZUON
— SAIMedia (@Media_SAI) 1628069752000
With this, Ravi has assured himself and India at least a silver from the wrestling mats of Tokyo. Before this, only one other Indian wrestler – Sushil Kumar has won a silver medal at the Olympics for India. With this incredible feat, Ravi also became the 5th Indian wrestler overall (after KD Jadhav in 1952, Sushil Kumar in 2008 & 2012, Yogeshwar Dutt in 2012 and Sakshi Malik in 2016) to secure an Olympic medal for India.
Ravi also took India’s overall medal count at the Tokyo Olympics to four (Mirabai Chanu, Lovlina Borgohain, PV Sindhu and Ravi Kumar Dahiya). He is also the first male Indian athlete to secure a medal at the Games in Tokyo for India.
He was 3-9 down, with momentum and time against him. But he still didn’t lose heart and with a couple of amazing of… https://t.co/QaweLdCDsJ
— #Tokyo2020 for India (@Tokyo2020hi) 1628070570000
Here’s everything you need to know about wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya:
Name:Ravi Kumar Dahiya
Sport: Wrestling (Men’s 57kg Freestyle)
Born in: Nahri, Sonipat District, Haryana in 1997
* Assured of at least a silver in Tokyo Olympics
* Bronze medal in 57kg category in 2019 World Championship
* Gold medal in 2020 Asian Championships
* Gold medal in 2021 Asian Championships
* Silver medal in 2018 world u-23 Championships
It would be fair to say that Ravi Kumar Dahiya has been flying well under the radar, going into the Tokyo Olympics. As the world talked about Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat as the two biggest medal contenders in wrestling for India (Bajrang and Vinesh are yet to begin their campaign), Deepak has become the first Indian wrestler to register his name as a medal winner in Tokyo.
Ravi went into the Tokyo Olympics with quality training under his belt in Russia. Ravi trained there with Deepak Punia and Bajrang Punia, before flying straight to Tokyo for the Olympics. Ravi posses immense strength, stamina and his technically very strong. Most of his bouts have been won technical superiority.
Ravi’s biggest career achievement, before the medal in Tokyo was a bronze medal at the World Championships in the same weight category (57kg) in 2019. He settled for the bronze medal after losing to the defending champion and the eventual gold medallist. He also booked a Tokyo Olympics berth in the same tournament. Thanks to this win, Ravi was included in the Sports Ministry’s Target Olympic podium scheme in October 2019.
In the 2019 Pro Wrestling League, Ravi was part of the title winning Haryana Hammers team and remained unbeaten in the tournament.
He also has two Asian Championship gold medals under his belt, winning them back to back in 2020 and 2021.
Since he was 10 years old, Ravi was trained at the Chhatrasal stadium in Delhi by celebrated wrestling coach Satpal Singh. Ravi’s father, a farmer, who worked in rented paddy fields traveled every day for over 10 years to deliver milk and fruits to Ravi, which were part of the wrestler’s diet.
In February 2020, in an interview with TimesofIndia.com Ravi had said – “I know I have won a gold at the Asian Championships, but what matters for me is the Olympics. What I do on the mat in Tokyo will matter. All I can think of are the Olympics. I am hungry for an Olympic medal. I just want to go and give my best in Tokyo.”
Ravi has definitely given his best so far, but he is not done yet. Though a silver is assured, a historic and unprecedented gold also beckons him now in the final of the Men’s 57kg freestyle wrestling event, which will be held on Thursday, August 5. If Ravi can clinch the gold, it will make him the first Indian wrestler to win a gold medal at the Olympics and also just the second individual Olympic gold medallist for the country, after Abhinav Bindra.
History beckons Ravi Kumar Dahiya.