Ravi Dahiya: India's Dark Horse at the Tokyo Olympics
Ravi Dahiya will lock horns with Zaur Uguev of Russia in the 57kg freestyle wrestling final.
This time, India sent its largest-ever contingent to compete in 85 medal events at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, and India won a silver medal on the opening day of the games, all thanks to Mirabai Chanu. This victory ended India's 20-year quest for a weightlifting medal.
However, Wrestling is one event in which India has been able to bag a medal since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The streak started with Sushil Kumar’s Bronze medal in 2008, followed by a Silver at the 2012 London Olympics. Yogeshwar Dutt also chipped in with a Bronze in 2012; Sakshi Malik kept the streak running by grabbing a Bronze at Rio 2016 games.
And now at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics, Ravi Dahiya has confirmed a Silver medal by becoming the second player after Sushil Kumar to play a Gold medal bout at Olympics.
Dahiya, who originates from Nahri village in Haryana's Sonipat region, began training in a small akhara at the age of six. At the age of 12, he began training with instructor Satpal at New Delhi's Chhatrasal Stadium, where two of the former Olympic medallists Sushil and Yogeshwar would train as well.
For more than a decade, his father Rakesh has worked as a farmer on rented rice fields. Yet, he travelled 28 kilometres every day to deliver home-cooked meals, milk, and butter to his son. Keeping in mind his father’s efforts, Ravi quickly rose to prominence and was heralded as the next great thing from the Chhatrasal ring. All of his father’s hard work and financial investment paid off when Ravi started winning medals at the junior level and national championships.
At the World Championships in Nur-Sultan in 2019, he made his senior-level debut. He made an immediate impression as a 20-year-old by capturing the bronze medal and securing his spot in the Tokyo Olympics. He won gold at the Asian Championships in New Delhi in 2020. At Almaty this year, he was able to retain his Asian championship.
Dahiya is already getting a lot of love from Indian fans after securing a silver medal, though he will face Zaur Uguev of Russia in the final. If he crosses this last hurdle, he will become the ultimate champion and only Indian to win Gold at the Olympics.
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