Tokyo: Ravi Dahiya on Wednesday became only the second Indian wrestler to qualify for the gold medal clash at the Olympic Games when he sensationally turned around the 57kg semifinal by pinning Kazakhstan's Nurislam Sanayev here.
The fourth seeded Indian was trailing 2-9 when Sanayev effected a few 'fitley' (leg lace) moves to pull ahead but as the clocked ticked away, Dahiya regrouped and got hold of his rival with a double leg attack that resulted in a victory by fall.
Before this, Sushil Kumar was the only Indian to make the gold medal bout in 2012 London Games and settle for a silver.
The 23-year Dahiya had won both his previous bouts on technical superiority en route the final.
Dahiya outclassed Colombia's Tigreros Urbano (13-2) in his opener and then outwitted Bulgaria's Georgi Valentinov Vangelov (14-4).
KD Jadhav had become India's first wrestler -- and the first individual Olympic medallist -- to win a bronze at the 1952 Helsinki Games.
After that, Sushil enhanced wrestling's profile by winning a bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games and bettered the colour of the medal by claiming a historic silver in 2012 London Olympics.
That made Sushil India's only athlete with two individual Olympic medals for nine years, a feat that has now been matched by shuttler PV Sindhu.
In the same 2012 London Games, Yohesgwar Dutt won a bronze.
Sakshi Malik became the first Indian woman wrestler to win an Olympic medal when she took a bronze in the 2016 Rio Games.
Copyright©2021 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today