Before the World Championships started, everyone was expecting medals from Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat while Sakshi Malik, Divya Kakran, Sushil Kumar and Pooja Dhanda were expected to at least make a good run for a Tokyo Olympics quota ― given to the top six competitors in each Olympic weight class at the Nur-Sultan World Championships.
Ravi Kumar Dahiya’s name was never mentioned. He’s a U-23 World Championships silver medallist, but no one expected to make it to the last six at the Worlds since he had made his debut at the senior level just at the Asian Championships. He proved everyone wrong after winning a quota for India in the 57kg weight class, which in India is one of the most competitive categories featuring Sandeep Tomar and Utkarsh Kale, and winning a bronze medal. He had earlier sealed his entry to the Worlds by brushing aside both in the national trials.
Here’s a detailed analysis of how Ravi Dahiya won India the Tokyo Olympics quota at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships and won a bronze medal:
Opening round against Kim Sunggwon of Korea
Eight seconds. That’s all it took for Ravi to register his first points of the bout on board, after grabbing his Korean rival’s angle and forcing to flee off the playing area of the mat. The towering Ravi was a full head taller than his opponent, an advantage that he maximised by keeping his opponent at bay.
With two minutes in the contest gone, Ravi had Kim flat on his belly with a two-point takedown. This time too, the Korean tried to wriggle out of the playing area in order to prevent conceding more points, but Ravi effected a gut wrench for another two more points. Just as the first period was trickling towards its end, Ravi got Kim in a leg lace and rolled him thrice, effecting six points which gave him a victory by technical superiority (when the points difference between two opponents is 10 points or above).
Second round against Armenia‘s Arsen Harutyunyan
Inside 30 seconds, Ravi was down 2-0 against the European champion. 20 seconds later, the lead had doubled. With two minutes done on the clock, Ravi was down 6-0.
Nothing Ravi was trying was working. He grabbed Harutyunyan’s ankle, but the Armenian weaseled out after turning around in circles. After nearly 30 seconds of attacking wrestling, his window of opportunity opened up when he finally effected a takedown and then grabbed Harutyunyan by his belly and rolled him over thrice to take a 8-6 into the break.
The Armenian entered the second period with the fierceness of a wounded lion, attacking from the moment the referee blew his whistle. But Ravi was wise enough to counter naked aggression with calm defence, pushing his opponent out for a point. But there were just 1:35 seconds left on the clock, Ravi had tired his opponent enough to score an easy two-point takedown and widen his lead to 11-6. Ravi then grabbed Harutyunyan by both ankles and rolled him once more to gain two more points.
By the one-minute, 13-second mark, the Armenian’s body language suggested he was ready to retire from sport itself let alone throw in the towel for this bout. But his pride probably forced him back onto the mat, and mount an attack for Ravi’s legs. The Indian easily sidestepped the attack and got on the back of the Armenian to take a 15-6 lead. Ravi killed off the encounter with 48 seconds still to go in the contest by taking a 17-6 lead, thereby again winning by technical superiority.
Quarter-final against Japan’s Yuki Takahashi
The Japenese wrestler is a former world champion, but past laurels matter for nothing on the mat, as Ravi showed by effecting an early two-point takedown. At one point, Ravi grabbed Takahashi’s right thigh but the Japanese grappler’s defence never let Ravi make anything out of it.
At the start of the second period, the Japanese wrestler clawed his way back into the match by pushing the Indian out of bounds to reduce the gap to 2-1. Ravi responded by almost pinning his opponent to the mat, which would end the contest immediately. He still took two crucial points from the move. Takahashi seemed reenergised by the realisation that he was trailing by three points, and started to mount attack after attack, but to no avail. It was Ravi though who managed to emerge from the melee of frantically flying limbs with two more points after a takedown.
Semi-final against Russia‘s Zavur Uguev
The reigning World Champion was the second seed in this weight class and was Ravi‘s reward for knocking out the third seeded Japanese grappler in the previous round.
He’s not had the best year, but Uguev is not one to be trifled with or brushed off easily. He attacked Ravi so fast in the first minute, that the young Indian was belly down on the mat before he had time to register what had just occurred.
The second period began just as the first had, with Uguev attacking in a flash right at the start, this time though he nearly pinned Ravi flat on his back, thereby walking away with four points from the move. The next one minute saw a period of wild attacking from both wrestlers eventually culminating in a two-point takedown for the Indian. He could have accumulated more points with the move, but could not get a better hold of the Iranian’s ankles to put him through a leg lace. Uguev conceded one more point to the Indian by making a faulty challenge for a step-out, which set up the bout for a exciting finish with just a minute left on the clock and just three points separating the two men.
The Iranian was happy to evade Ravi for the rest of the minute and promptly conceded a point for negative wrestling. But that came with barely six seconds left on the clock, leaving the Indian no time to make a move.
Bronze medal playoff against Iran’s Reza Ahmadali Atrinagharchi
Ravi started this bout slowly, resulting with him being given the 30-second passivity penalty. With two seconds remaining on the passivity clock though, he managed to fend off an attack on his leg from the Iraninan and get behind him to effect a two-point takedown.
The pair tried to make attacking moves in the fag end of the first period, but nothing came out of it. The Iranian finally got a point on the board after forcing Ravi off the mat with a leg hold. It took just 10 seconds for the score to remain at 2-1 though, as Ravi effected a takedown, flattening Atrinagharchi on his belly for a two-point move. Th Iranian responded with a two-point takedown of his own. Ravi avoided giving away a point for a step-out after nimbly turning right at the edge of the mat with just a minute remaining.
At that stage, he just had a one-point lead, which he soon extended with a two-point takedown. The Iranian wrestler was too spent after this stage to mount a comeback, thereby resulting into Indian getting an unexpected bronze medal.
Updated Date: Sep 21, 2019 09:31:48 IST