Ravi Kumar Dahiya settled for the silver medal after losing 7-4 to World champion Zaur Uguev of Russia in the keenly-fought men’s 57kg freestyle title clash of the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.
The 23-year-old became only the second Indian wrestler, after Sushil Kumar, to get a Games silver.
In the much anticipated contest, Uguev took an early lead by pushing Ravi out of the circle twice. Ravi, a Worlds bronze medallist and a two-time Asian champion, caught up with the Russian through a fine takedown from the left.
Sooner than later, Uguev restored his lead to go into the second period with a 4-2 advantage.
The Russian surprised Ravi with one of his fine moves and extended his lead to 5-2. He inflated his lead with another takedown.
Ravi gave his best to break the solid defence of Uguev and reduce the margin to 7-4. The Indian wrestled his heart out in the closing seconds but could not stop Uguev from achieving the rare honour of being a World and Olympic champion.
For a change, Ravi became emotional after losing the bout. He had earlier lost to Uguev in the semifinal of the World wrestling championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, in 2019.
On Wednesday, Ravi had beaten Pan American silver medallist Colombian Oscar Tigreros 13-2, Bulgarian Individual World Cup bronze medallist Georgi Vangelov 14-4 and double Worlds medallist Kazakh Nurislam Sanayev ‘by fall’ to reach the final of the Olympic Games.
Deepak goes down fighting
Worlds silver medallist Deepak Punia went down fighting to San Marino’s Myles Amine 4-2 in an 86kg bronze medal match to end his campaign on a disappointing note.
After managing a 2-1 lead in the opening period of his bronze medal match, Deepak held on to his slender lead for most part of the second period. However, the perseverance of Amine, a European bronze medallist, paid off as he broke the Indian’s resistance to manage a takedown with less than 10 seconds to go.
Deepak’s challenge was in vain as he left the wrestling hall in a state of shock.