India’s Ravi Kumar Dahiya earns Tokyo Olympics gold medal match with last-gasp pin

Ravi Kumar Dahiya won his semi-final bout by fall. The Indian wrestler will now gun for the gold medal at Tokyo 2020.

By Utathya Nag
Picture by Getty Images

India’s Ravi Kumar Dahiya stormed into the Tokyo 2020 Olympics men’s 57kg freestyle wrestling event’s gold medal match after a victory by fall over Kazakhstan’s Nurislam Sanayev in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

Ravi Kumar Dahiya is the second Indian wrestler in history to enter the gold medal match at the Olympics. Sushil Kumar made it to the final at London 2012 but won silver.

The Indian wrestler on his Olympic debut will face ROC’s Zavur Uguev, a two-time world champion, in the final.

After what was a tight start at the Makuhari Messe Hall in Chiba, Ravi Kumar Dahiya conceded the first points of the bout due to a passivity call but struck back instantly with a two-point take down.

Leading 2-1 heading into the second period, Ravi Kumar was dealt a crushing blow soon after the action restarted.

Sanayev got behind the Indian wrestler, caught hold of Ravi Kumar Dahiya’s ankles and twirled him around a few times to flip the score 9-2 in his favour.

Seemingly looking down the barrel and needing a brilliant comeback, Ravi Kumar Dahiya delivered. He first managed to push Sanayev out of bounds to reduce the deficit to 9-5.

The move appeared to injure the Kazakh wrestler, but he opted to continue.

With just 50 seconds left on the clock, Ravi Dahiya scored a two-point takedown and converted it to a pin - exposing both his opponent’s shoulders to the mat - and won the bout by fall.

Ravi Kumar Dahiya entered the semi-finals after beating Bulgaria’s Georgi Vangelov in the quarters (14-4) and Colombia’s Oscar Tigreros in the round of 16 (13-2) by technical superiority.

In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.