Ravi Kumar Dahiya was just one and a half minutes away from losing his Men’s 57kg Freestyle semi-final bout on Wednesday when he produced a sensational comeback to go through to the gold medal match and confirm a fourth Tokyo Olympics medal for India. Ravi came back from a massive 9-2 deficit to defeat Kazakhstan’s Nurislam Sanayev and gave himself a chance at becoming the first wrestling Olympic gold medallist for India.
Ravi showed great courage, tenacity and determination to keep up his belief and come back from the mouth of defeat to get a victory by fall and assure himself of at least a silver medal from the Games.
Ravi had given away the first point of the bout for inactivity but then he grabbed hold of Sanayev and turned him around to get two points. He led 2-1 at the end of the first period but Sanayev came out prepared and executed four fitleys (leg lace) by attacking Ravi’s left leg and raced to a 9-2 lead.
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It was at this moment that Ravi was starting at a defeat. However, the Indian showed great mental resolve to turn it all around in the last minute and a half. Ravi first grabbed hold of Sanayev’s leg and turned him around to win three points.
At this point Sanayev looked like he had injured his leg and was in pain. He was treated a bit after which the bout resumed.
Immediately, Ravi got hold of the Kazakhstan wrestler with a double leg attack and managed to pin him down in the last few seconds to get the big win.
Ravi completed the pin despite Sanayev biting his arm. The contrast was such that Ravi and his coach celebrated strongly while Sanayev lay on the mat with his face in his palms and his coach had his head at the edge of the ring.
RAVI KUMAR PINS HIS OPPONENT DOWN!With this move, #IND‘s 57kg representative in #wrestling made it to the gold-medal match!#StrongerTogether | #UnitedByEmotion | #Tokyo2020 | #Olympics pic.twitter.com/OuM1EWUGeZ
— #Tokyo2020 for India (@Tokyo2020hi) August 4, 2021
In wrestling, this is India’s sixth ever medal at the quadrennial Games. Before Ravi, KD Jadhav had become India’s first wrestler - and the first individual Olympic medallist - to win a bronze at the 1952 Helsinki Games.
After that, Sushil won a bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games and then bettered it by grabbing a silver at the 2012 Longon Olympics. At London 2012, Yogeshwar Dutt had also won a bronze in wrestling for India.
In Rio 2016, Sakshi Malik became the first Indian woman wrestler to win an Olympic medal when he bagged a bronze.
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