Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hailed wrestler Ravi Dahiya for winning a silver medal at the Olympic Games and said his fighting spirit and tenacity are outstanding.
Dahiya became only the second Indian wrestler to win a silver medal at the Olympic Games after he lost the men’s freestyle 57kg title clash 4-7 to reigning world champion Zavur Uguev in Tokyo.
“Ravi Kumar Dahiya is a remarkable wrestler! His fighting spirit and tenacity are outstanding. Congratulations to him for winning the Silver Medal at #Tokyo2020,” Modi tweeted. “India takes great pride in his accomplishments,” he said.
Modi also lauded the efforts of wrestler Deepak Punia, who came agonisingly close to winning a bronze medal on his Olympic debut but conceded a take-down in last 10 seconds of the 86kg play-off against San Marino’s Myles Nazem Amine to miss out on achieving the feat.
Dahiya is the first man to win a medal for India at the Tokyo Olympics. Mirabai Chanu won a silver in weightlifting, P.V. Sindhu won a bronze medal in badminton and Lovlina Borgohain bagged a bronze in boxing.
Reigning world champion Uguev started off on an aggressive note, pushing Dahiya out of the mat, to score the first two points. The Indian managed to equalise by pinning him on his knees but almost immediately, Uguev returned the favour and went 4-2 up.
The Russian athlete scored another point, grabbing Dahiya from the back and pushing him out of the mat yet again.
With the gap widening, the Indian tried to go for an attack, but Uguev turned it around and pinned him to the ground, thus conceding another two points.
Dahiya, 23, managed to win two more points towards the end, raising hopes of a repeat of the semi-final miracle when he came back from a 2-9 scoreline to win against the Kazak wrestler Nurislam Sanayev.
However, Uguev defended strongly and managed to hang on to the three-point lead to win the gold.
The Indian had won against Colombia’s Tigreros Urbano (13-2) in his opener and then defeated Bulgaria’s Georgi Valentinov Vangelov (14-4) in the quarterfinals.
Before Dahiya, four Indian wrestlers have won medals at the Olympics. They are: K.D. Jadhav (1952 Helsinki Games), Sushil Kumar (2008 Beijing Olympics, 2012 London Games), Yogeshwar Dutt (2012 London Olympics) and Sakshi Malik (2016 Rio Olympics).