Ravi Dahiya assured India of at least a silver medal in wrestling when he booked his place in the final of men’s freestyle 57 kg at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday. The 23-year-old wrestler was trailing Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan 7-9 in the semifinal when he pinned his opponent to be declared winner by fall. Dahiya made a remarkable comeback with only minute remaining in the bout after trailing 2-9 at one stage. It was during Dahiya’s late rally that Sanayev suffered an injury.
Dahiya had begun the bout well and had taken a slender 2-1 lead in the first three minutes but Sanayev came back strongly and earned eight quick points to go 9-2 up. Just when Dahiya seemed to be moments away from defeat, he turned things around and reduced the deficit to 7-9.
By that time, Sanayev was visibly struggling with his injury and Dahiya was in complete control when the referee stopped the bout and adjudged Dahiya the victor.
The wrestler from Haryana had begun the day with a thumping 13-2 win over Oscar Tigeros of Colombia in the round of 16 and then beat Georgi Vangelov of Bulgaria 14-4 in the quarters to seal his place in the final. In the final scheduled for Thursday, Dahiya will face the winner of the other semifinal bout between Reza Atri of Iran and Zaur Uguev of ROC.
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