India’s Ravi Dahiya takes home Olympic silver

Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya settled for the silver medal after losing the final of the men’s freestyle 57kg weight class contest to two-time world champion Zavur Uguev of Russia at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.

Dahiya will return back home proud as he became only the second Indian wrestler after his mentor Sushil Kumar, to win a silver medal in wrestling at the Olympics.

Dahiya was born in 1997 and hails from the village of Nahri in Sonipat district, Haryana. Since age 10, Dahiya was trained by Satpal Singh at the Chhatrasal Stadium in North Delhi. His father Rakesh Dahiya, a small farmer, would travel every day from their village to the stadium to deliver fresh milk and fruits, which were part of his wrestling diet, for more than a decade.

Dahiya won the silver medal in the 55 kg freestyle category at the 2015 Junior World Wrestling Championships in Salvador de Bahia.He picked up an injury in 2017 which kept him out of action for more than a year. In his comeback year, he won the silver medal at the 2018 World U23 Wrestling Championship in Bucharest, India’s only medal at the competition, in the 57 kg category. Dahiya remained unbeaten at the 2019 Pro Wrestling League, representing the title winning team, Haryana Hammers. He was ranked fifth at the 2019 Asian Wrestling Championships in Xi’an, after losing the bronze medal match.

In his World Championships debut in 2019, Dahiya defeated the European champion Arsen Harutyunyan in the round of 16, and the 2017 world champion Yuki Takahashi in the quarterfinal, to earn one of the six available quota places for the 2020 Summer Olympics. He settled for bronze after losing to defending champion and eventual gold medalist Zaur Uguev in the semifinal round. On the back of his medal win, Dahiya was included in the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports’ Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) in October 2019. Dahiya bagged gold at the 2020 Asian Wrestling Championships in New Delhi and the 2021 Asian Wrestling Championships in Almaty.