Road to Rio: Greco-Roman wrestler Ravinder Khatri faces uphill task at Olympics
Ravinder will have a slew of intimidating opponents to defeat to clinch a medal at Rio. Will the grappler make his mark in Greco-Roman wrestling?
Name: Ravinder Khatri
Discipline (sport): Wrestling
Category: Men's Greco-Roman 85 kg
Qualification: Ravinder qualified after bagging the silver medal in the 2016 Asian Olympics qualifier at Astana, Kazakhstan. He had initially won bronze but then silver medalist Kenzheev Zhanarbek of Kyrgystan tested positive later on and that opened the door for Ravinder's qualification.
Strengths: Ravinder's strength is his aggression
Past Olympic performance: Debut.
Past record (best performances): - Silver medal in the 2016 Asian Olympics qualifier at Astana, Kazakhstan
India is sending eight wrestlers to the Olympics this time, and this discipline is considered to be one of the biggest medal prospects for this country’s contingent. But when you think of Indian wrestling, Greco-Roman doesn’t particularly come to mind. This power-centric branch of wrestling has never been one of India’s fortes; that being said, two grapplers will be representing India in the quadrennial Olympic event this time, and one of them is Ravinder Khatri.
Ravinder, along with Hardeep Singh, will have a slew of intimidating opponents to defeat to clinch a medal at Rio. The wrestler is aware of the competition. “All wrestlers will be well prepared, no wrestler can be taken lightly. Having said that, I feel wrestlers from Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan will be tough to beat. The point is if I give my best, I can do my country proud in Rio,” Ravinder said to Pune Mirror.
Ravinder had missed qualification for the 2012 London by a narrow margin. “I did not qualify in the 2012 Olympics by only 2 points. I decided to make the best of these next four years and now I have reached this mark,” he told The Indian Express. Ravinder redemption involves intense practice* for more than eight hours a day, and when he isn’t practicing, he is a Havildar in the Jat Brigade of the Indian Army.
It truly is an impressive feat that Ravinder, who comes from a non-wrestling background, ensured that India finally gets representation in Greco-Roman after 12 years. The 24-year-old has trained extensively in Poland, USA and India to give his best in the Olympics.
The Haryanvi boy says that he’s proud to make his father’s dream come true, one that wouldn’t have been accomplished without the family’s struggles to make ends meet for his training and travel. Now that he has completed his father’s dream by reaching the Olympics, will he fulfill his own dream of winning a medal?
With inputs from agencies
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