Valiant Ravi Kumar Dahiya bags India’s second silver medal at Tokyo 2020 Olympics
It was a disappointing day for the Indian wrestling contingent on Day 13 of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after Ravi Kumar Dahiya had to settle for silver as he lost to the Russian Olympic Committee's (ROC) Zavur Uguev in the men's freestyle 57kg final.
The 23-year-old Indian wrestler went down fighting as he suffered a 4-7 loss to two-time world champion Uguev, who looked too strong and determined to clinch the Olympic gold.
The Russian made a great start to the gold medal match as he took a 4-2 lead at the halfway mark and later consolidated his lead to 7-2 before Dahiya tried to make a comeback after adding two points to his tally.
However, it was too little too late for the Indian wrestler as Uguev defended strongly in the last two minutes to become an Olympic champion.
Despite the loss, Ravi Kumar Dahiya became just the second Indian wrestler to win an Olympic silver after Sushil Kumar, who achieved the feat in London 2012.
With Ravi’s silver, India’s wrestlers have now managed to win a medal in each of the last four Olympics.
While Sushil Kumar bagged a bronze in Beijing 2008, he won a silver in England four years later along with compatriot Yogeshwar Dutt, who secured bronze at London 2012.
Later in 2016, Sakshi Malik added her name to the history books as she bagged bronze in the women’s wrestling event at Rio.
There was more heartbreak for India on the wrestling mat on Thursday as Deepak Punia was just a few seconds away from claiming bronze.
However, the Indian wrestler failed to defend his 2-1 lead and lost 2-4 to San Marino's Myles Amine in the bronze medal match for the men's freestyle 86kg category.
With a 2-1 lead, Deepak went on the defensive as Myles Amine capitalised and added two points in the last 20 seconds of the bout to win the bronze medal.
While the Indian management tried to challenge the points awarded to Amine, it was in vain as Deepak lost the challenge and one more point was added to the score of the San Marino wrestler.
Earlier in the day, India’s top medal contender Vinesh Phogat was stunned by Belarus’ Vanesa Kaladzinskaya in the women’s freestyle 53kg quarter-finals.
The 26-year-old Indian wrestler was pinned by her rival as her hopes of an Olympic gold ended in heartbreak. Later, Vinesh’s hopes for a second attempt in the repechage was also squashed after her conqueror Vanesa failed to advance to the final in women's 53kg.
Another Indian in the fray, Anshu Malik’s hopes of making it to the bronze medal bout ended after she lost to ROC’s Valeria Koblova in the women's 57kg freestyle category.
Anshu had earlier succumbed to a loss against Iryna Kurachkina of Belarus in her pre-quarterfinal bout on Wednesday.
India will now bank on star wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Seema Bisla, who will begin their Tokyo 2020 campaign on Friday.
Featured photo: Asian Wrestling Championship