Olympics: Wrestler Ravi Dahiya enters 57kg freestyle final
Tokyo, August 4, 2021
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 Nurislam Sanayev in the semi-final 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) Zavur Uguev -- a two-time world champion -- in the final.
In what was a tight start to the contest at the Makuhari Messe 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 huge blow after the action restarted, when 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.
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 theKazakh 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 semi-finals after beating Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov in the quarter-finals (14-4) and Colombia's Oscar Tigreros in the round of 16 (13-2) by technical superiority.
In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.