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Tokyo 2020: Sensational fightback, Ravi Kumar Dahiya in final

Gaurav Kanthwal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 4

Ravi Kumar Dahiya of Nahri village in Sonepat district will return from Tokyo with at least a silver after he became the second Indian wrestler to enter the final at the Olympic Games.

The 23-year-old made it to the final of the 57kg freestyle event when he overturned a massive deficit of seven points, having being 2-9 down against Kazakhstan’s Nurislam Sanayev in the semifinals. Dahiya, a bronze medallist at the 2019 World Championships, fought back fiercely to first reduce the deficit to 7-9 and then managed to pin down Sanayev to win by fall. Dahiya will fight the reigning world champion Zavur Uguev of the Russian Olympic Committee in the final on Thursday.

Another young Haryana wrestler, Deepak Punia (86kg freestyle), lost in the semifinal and will fight for a bronze medal on Thursday.

Dahiya led 2-1 before Sanayev managed to grip his legs to turn him four times to earn eight points through a move called “leg lace” — made famous as ‘fitley’ by Yogeshwar Dutt at London 2012. Now Sanayev led 9-2 and Dahiya had to fight back furiously against an opponent who was discomfited by a head injury he had suffered earlier in the day. Dahiya won point after point with aggressive moves and eventually managed to pin Sanayev’s shoulders down and the referee stopped the bout.

Dahiya later said he was not happy that he had conceded such a big lead to Sanayev, whom he has beaten twice in the past.

Celebrations at Nahri

The atmosphere at the chopal of Nahri village — around 18km from Sonepat — was electric through the day after Dahiya took to the mat for his first bout. Close to 500 people of two panchayats, Nahri and Nahra, were watching his progress to the final on a giant screen and dancing to the beat of the dhol after every victory.

His father Rakesh Dahiya, a farmer, and mother Urmila Devi, a housewife, were overwhelmed by their son’s success and the massive support. “The whole village and the country wants Monu (Ravi) to win the gold. We pray to God that his hard work bears fruit,” Rakesh Dahiya said.

The panchayats of Nahri and Nahra are famous for producing wrestlers. Nahri is home to two Arjuna Award-winning wrestlers, Satveer Singh and Mahavir Singh, and two Olympians — Mahavir Singh (1980 Moscow) and Amit Kumar Dahiya (2012 London).

PM Narendra Modi

Our women’s hockey team played with grit and showcased great skill. Proud of the team.

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Hockey: Men to fight for bronze today

The Indian men’s hockey team must make one final effort at the Tokyo Olympics when they play Germany for the bronze medal on Thursday morning. Manpreet Singh’s men would need to be stronger in the midfield to thwart Germany’s attacks. Too many circle penetrations and penalty corners (14) conceded to Belgium had resulted in immense pressure on their defence. TNS

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