In a proud moment for India, freestyle wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya bagged the second silver medal in Tokyo Olympics 2020 after putting up a fierce fight against Russia’s Zaur Uguev. With this feat, Ravi Kumar Dahiya created history for India by becoming the second Indian wrestler to win an Olympic Silver. Read this blog to explore the brave journey of Ravi Kumar Dahiya and his eventual historic win at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
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Early Life of Ravi Kumar Dahiya
Ravi Kumar Dahiya was born on 12th December 1997 and hails from the district of Nahri in Sonipat District, Haryana. His journey from underdog to India’s most celebrated wrestler is inspiring. Dahiya’s father’s support has helped Ravi reach great heights, Rakesh Dahiya, was a farmer but he did not own any lands. He would do farming by renting other’s fields. At the age of 10 years old, Ravi Kumar Dahiya began training under the guidance of Satpal Singh, a former Indian wrestler and Gold Medallist at the 1982 Asian Games, at the Chhatrasal Stadium in North Delhi. To support his training, his father would travel every day to the Chhatrasal stadium to deliver fresh milk and fruits, which were an essential part of his wrestling diet, for more than a decade.
Early Career of Ravi Kumar Dahiya
At the very beginning of his wrestling career, Ravi Kumar Dahiya won the silver medal in the 55kg freestyle category at the 2015 Junior World Wrestling Championship which was held in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. Soon after, in 2017 he suffered an unfortunate injury that kept him out of action for more than a year.
However, he made his comeback at the 2018 World U23 Wrestling Championship, held in Budapest, and secured the silver medal which was India’s only medal at that competition. Furthermore, he remained undefeated at the 2019 Pro Wrestling League, representing the title, Haryana Hammers. He was ranked fifth at the 2019 Asian Wrestling Championships in Xi’an, China, after losing the bronze medal match.
In his World Championship Debut in 2019, Ravi Kumar Dahiya defeated the European champion Arsen Harutyunyan in the round of 16, and the 2017 world champion Yuki Takahashi in the quarterfinal, to earn one of the six available quota places for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Furthermore, Ravi Kumar Dahiya bagged gold at the 2020 Asian Wrestling Championships in New Delhi and at the 2021 Asian Wrestling Championship in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
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Second Indian Wrestler to win Silver Medal at Olympics 2020
At the Tokyo Olympics 2020, Ravi Kumar Dahiya reached the finals of 57kg wrestling after successfully defeating his opponent Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan. In the first period of the match Ravi Kumar Dahiya had managed to take the lead of 2-1, however, in the second period, Sanayev managed to take the lead of 9-2, pinning Ravi Kumar Dahiya in a difficult position. Fortunately, with less than two minutes on the clock, Ravi Kumar Dahiya bounced back, winning point after point with a series of aggressive moves and finally managed to pin Sanayev’s shoulders down to secure his way to the finals.
During the Finals, Ravi Kumar Dahiya fought against Russia’s Zaur Uguev, the defending two-time world champion. At the beginning of the match, Uguev got the first point of the bout after a tense start that saw both wrestlers defending really well. Uguev pushed the Indian wrestler out of the playing area twice in the initial minutes of the first round to take a 2-0 lead. Again, Ravi Kumar Dahiya turned the tables, by picking up two points but Uguev immediately took back his lead by securing two more points to go up 4-2. Ravi Kumar Dahiya tried to make a comeback again, but Uguev continued to defend his lead.
During the second period, Uguev pushed the Indian wrestler out again to go up 5-2. Ravi Kumar Dahiya tried to make a comeback but the Russian wrestler defended his lead really well. Uguev went up 7-2 but Ravi picked up two points to make it 4-7. In the end, Ravi Kumar Dahiya was defeated by Zaur Uguev but ended up bagging India’s second Olympic silver at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, after Saikhom Mirabai Chanu.
Awards and Achievements
For winning the silver medal at Tokyo Olympics 2020, Ravi Kumar Dahiya received the following :
- Rs 50 lakh (US$70,000) from the Government of India
- Rs 4 crore (US$560,000) from the Government of Haryana
His other awards and achievements include :
- In 2015, Ravi Kumar Dahiya bagged the silver medal against Mahir Amiraslanov of Azerbaijan at the 2015 World Junior Wrestling Championships.
- In 2018, he secured the silver medal against Toshihiro Hasegawa of Japan, at the 2018 World U23 Wrestling Championships.
- In 2019, Ravi Kumar Dahiya bagged the bronze medal against Zaur Uguev of Russia at the 2019 World Wrestling Championship.
- At the Asian Wrestling Championship, Ravi Kumar Dahiya bagged two gold medals in both the 2020 and 2021 Asian Wrestling Championships.
Despite his defeat, Ravi Kumar Dahiya was hailed a hero for bagging India’s second Olympic silver. His hard work and perseverance brought glory and recognition to India. Despite facing a near loss in the semi-finals, he proved that with determination and resolve, victory is possible. We wish him all the luck! To read more success stories and inspirational content like this, follow Leverage Edu.