Ravi Kumar Dahiya is a wrestler belonging to the Sonipat district of Haryana. The 23-year-old fighter made the nation proud after winning a silver medal in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. He is the fifth Indian wrestler to finish at the Olympic podium.
Before the Olympics, he earned a third medal under the 57 kg bodyweight category at the 2019 International Wrestling Championships. Ravi practised and trained at the Chhatrasal Sports complex, which has given birth to many World Champions.
Dahiya was born in Haryana, India’s fighting stronghold, which also has produced some of the best wrestlers we have today. It was natural for him to start wrestling at an early age. Satpal Singh began training him at Chhatrasal Ground in Delhi when he was ten years old. Rakesh Dahiya, his father, is a landowner who labours on borrowed agricultural land. According to some reports, Ravi Kumar Dahiya’s dad travelled from his neighbourhood to the Chhatrasal Sports complex every day for almost a decade to deliver milk and fruits, which are an essential component of a wrestler’s diet.
At the 2015 Trainee World Wrestling Championships, Dahiya won silver. In 2017, he had to cope with an ailment that kept him for more than nearly one year. He started appearing during the 2018 World U23 Wrestling Tournament in Bucharest, in which he earned a silver medal. At Xi’an, he finished fifth in the 2019 Asian Freestyle Championship. He was undefeated in the 2019 Professional Wrestling League when he represented the Haryana Hammers, the champions that year. He won gold medals in the Asian Wrestling Championships in 2020 as well as in 2021.
Tokyo 2020 and the path to finals
Ravi Kumar defeated Colombian wrestler Oscar Urbano (13-2) in the ⅛ finals, Bulgarian Georgi Valentinov (14-4) in the quarterfinals, and Sanayev (7-9; VFA) inside the semifinals.
His journey in the Olympics began with technological supremacy during the first two matches. Although trailing the battle on scores in the sub, Dahiya demonstrated his mental toughness by narrowing down his competitor in the last minutes of the contest. He made a stunning turnaround to defeat Kazakhstan’s Nurislam Sanayev at the semifinals and ensured the country a medal.
In the 57kg category gold medal match, Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya was against the Russian Olympic Committee‘s athlete Zaur Uguev. Although Uguev won the bait by 7-4, Dahiya not only bagged India’s second-ever Olympic silver for wrestling but brought immense pride and glory to the nation.