Nurislam Sanayev takes a bite out of Ravi Dahiya in Indian wrestler’s win in Tokyo Olympics semis
Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya emerged from the semi-final of the Tokyo Olympics men’s freestyle 57kg category victorious on Wednesday but he also had a deep bite mark on his right arm to show for his efforts.
Ravi Kumar Dahiya has been the standout performer for the Indian wrestling contingent at Tokyo 2020 as he stormed into the gold medal match after upstaging Kazakhstan’s Nurislam Sanayev with a come-from-behind win by pinfall in the semis.
Trailing 2-9 at one stage against Nurislam Sanayev and with just 50 seconds remaining for the bout to end, the 23-year-old Indian wrestler scripted a comeback for the ages.
However, pictures emerged later in the day that showed Ravi Kumar Dahiya’s right arm bitten in the bicep region during the match. The Indian wrestler, however, looked unfazed.
Understandably, that didn’t go down well with Indian observers.
“How unfair is this,” former India cricketer Virender Sehwag mentioned on his Twitter page. “Couldn’t hit our Ravi Dahiya’s spirit, so bit his hand. Disgraceful Kazakh loser Nurislam Sanayev.”
Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) secretary Vinod Tomar, however, assured that biting an opponent is not a rare practice in the sport.
“I was there during the bout, and though I did not exactly see the Kazakh grappler bite Dahiya, I did see our wrestler rubbing ice on his arm for a long time,” Tomar told the IANS news agency.
"When a rival gains the upper hand, it is common for the other wrestler to do this (bite) to wrest back the advantage. Ravi has not spoken to us or his coaches and support staff regarding this episode as it is a part of the sport," Tomar added.
Interestingly, Ravi’s idol Sushil Kumar had performed a similar act during the London 2012 Olympics. Sushil was accused of biting his rival Akzhurek Tanatarov’s ear in the semi-final bout in the 66kg category.
Incidentally, Ravi is just the second Indian wrestler to advance to the final of the quadrennial event after two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, who achieved the feat at London 2012.
Ravi Kumar Dahiya will look to create history when he takes on Russia’s Zaur Uguev in the final on Thursday. The Indian wrestler will aim to become just the second Indian Olympian to win individual gold after shooter Abhinav Bindra did so back at Beijing 2008.
Featured photo: Asian Wrestling Championship