Tokyo Olympics 2021 India, Day 13 Highlights: Indian men’s hockey team, Ravi Dahiya take India’s medal tally to 5

August 6, 2021

SportsTokyo Olympics 2021


Tokyo Olympics 2021 India, Day 13 Highlights: There was plenty of events in an action-packed Wednesday as India won two medals to take their overall tally from Tokyo 2020 to five. It all began with the men in blue defeating Germany 5-4 to win Olympics bronze. In an emotional day for India, Manpreet Singh’s men fought well and made a brilliant comeback to end their 41-year old medal drought, adding their 12th hockey medal to their history.

The most important clash of the day was between Ravi Dahiya and Zavur Uguev as India hoped for a historic gold medal. Dahiya was ruthless on Tuesday making an exciting comeback to qualify for the final. Ravi put on a massive fight in the final, just like in the semi, but eventually the Russian did enough to win 7-4. Deepak Punia, in a heartbreaking result for India, was leading in his Bronze medal match till the last 10 seconds, before losing 4-2.

It was also the end of the road for Anshu Malik, who lost the repechage round. Vinesh Phogat also lost her quarterfinals and also had her chances of a Bronze dashed after her vanquisher Kaladzinskaya lost in the semi. In the men’s 20km racewalk final, Sandeep Kumar finished highest for India at 23rd, while Rahul Rohilla and KT Irfan ended at 47th and 51st.

Across the string of akharas in outer Delhi and Haryana, Ravi Dahiya’s “jigar” (courage) is the stuff of legends. As part of their character building process, young wrestlers are told stories about the man who can be stopped only by the clock; whose relentless attacks suck the energy out of his opponents; and, whose ability to come back from the dead can put even Undertaker to shame.

Dahiya is just 23. But around these parts, he is a man with many myths.

On Wednesday, inside a mega convention hall just outside Tokyo, far removed from the dust bowls of Haryana, Dahiya added to his legend. The wrestler from Nahari, near Haryana’s Sonepat, ensured India’s fourth medal in Tokyo, a wrestling medal at the fourth successive Olympics, and a first final appearance in the sport since Sushil Kumar fought for gold in London in 2012.

Down 9-2 with less than two minutes to be played in the semifinal of the 57kg weight class, Dahiya also scripted a turnaround that will go down as one of the great Olympic moments in wrestling.

His opponent, the wily Kazakh Nurislam Sanayev, had used the “par terre” position — where Dahiya had his hands and knees to the ground with Sanayev grappling him from the back — to race to a seemingly insurmountable seven-point lead.

In an Olympic semifinal, it is rare for a wrestler to overcome such a deficit. But Dahiya stayed calm despite Sanayev, a two-time world medallist and reigning Asian champion, indulging in some gamesmanship, including sticking his teeth into Dahiya’s forearm. The Indian caught hold of the Kazakh’s left leg and rolled him over the mat before eventually pinning him in one of the most stunning takedowns these Games have so far seen.

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