Wrestling Wrap: Ravi Kumar Dahiya Wins Silver, Vinesh & Deepak Falter
A wrap of the Indian wrestlers in action at the Tokyo Olympics.
World number one Vinesh Phogat was expected to lead India's medal hunt in wrestling at the Tokyo Olympics but the 53kg category wrestler's campaign was ended in the quarter-final stage at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.
India were in medal contention in two men's events on the day and while both Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Deepak Punia were defeated, Ravi finished his campaign with a silver medal - India's second in the sport since Sushil Kumar finished runner-up at the 2012 London Olympics.
Silver For Ravi
Ravi had already assured himself of a medal when he walked out to fight Russian Olympic Committee's (ROC) Zavur Uguev in the gold medal match on Thursday.
His two-time World Champion opponent though proved too strong for him as Ravi was defeated 7-4 on points.
This was two-time Asian champion Dahiya's second straight loss to Zavur Uguev, a two-time world champion, in as many meetings. The two met in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Championships in Nur Sultan and the Indian wrestler lost in the final seconds of the bout in a closely fought contest.
At the Makuhari Messe hall, Dahiya began the final cautiously as he was aware of Uguev's strength and tried to assess how ready his opponent was before launching his attack. However, Uguev was strong in his defence and turned the tables on the Indian, and claimed two points.
With the bench encouraging Dahiya, a bronze-medallist in the World Championships, and gold medallist in the Asian Championships, to match th' ROC wrestler's pace, the Indian grappler dipped further to find a hold and turn Uguev around for his first takedown.
But Uguev was quick to turn around and return the favour as they headed into the break with the reigning world champion leading 4-2.
Though Uguev seemed visibly tired in the seco'd period, he didn't allow Ravi Dahiya a clear opening to make a move. Ravi himself was quite tired but made a last-ditch effort.
With the clock running down, the Indian wrestler went for the kill and scored two points. But Uguev was quick to counter-attack and bagged three points to win the bout.
Vinesh Eliminated in Quarters
World championship bronze medallist Vinesh Phogat lost the quarter-final bout of her 53kg category event to Vanesa Kaladzinskay of Belarus by fall. With Vanesa losing in the semi-final later in the day, Vinesh's campaign was brought to an end with no opportunity for a repechage round.
The 28-year-old Vanesa was the first one to go on the offensive. She started off with a two-pointer and took a 5-2 lead at the end of the first period.
In the second period, Vinesh got a leg hold and tried to get the back of her opponent. But Vanesa made a strong defence and scored two points on the counter. A successful review from Vinesh saw the score reverted from 7-2 to 5-3.
Vanesa got around Vinesh again, taking two points. In her last move, Vanesa got Vinesh on the mat and pinned her shoulders down to win the match by fall. It brought the match to an end where Vinesh had no answer to Vanesa's attacks and relentless pressure.
Heartbreak For Punia
A last-minute attack by his opponent Myles Amine of San Marino left Deepak Punia heartbroken as he lost the close bout, missing out on a bronze medal in the men's 86 kg freestyle event.
Punia, who had lost to USA's David Taylor in the semifinals on Wednesday, had a one-point lead going into the last minute of the bout but let it slip as he came under attack and lost the bout 4-2. Having expended all his energy in keeping Amine at bay, Punia looked exhausted and could not defend well as the San Marino grappler launched a desperate attack in the final seconds.
Punia's coach raised an objection over the three points awarded against his ward but the table officials, after watching the action on a monitor, ruled in favour of his opponent.
Punia, a world junior champion and a silver medallist in the senior World Championships in 2019, tried his best against Amine as both grapplers tried for a breakthrough in the first part of the bout. He managed a two-point takedown and though Amine reduced the margin by one point soon after, the Indian did not get any further chances. He was cautioned by the referee for not trying enough and though Punia avoided any action by being more proactive in defense, he could not unleash any attacks in the last part of the bout.
His rival however managed to bring him down with a quick ankle lock in the final minutes and claimed three points that ended Punia's hopes.
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