Ravi Kumar Dahiya’s clinical performance earned him a place in the final of the men’s freestyle 57kg weight class and ensured another medal for the country in the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.
After Sushil Kumar, Worlds bronze medallist and two-time Asian champion Ravi became the second Indian wrestler to book a berth in the final.
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Ravi will take on two-time World champion Zaur Uguev of Russia in the title clash.
Worlds silver medallist Deepak Punia won two bouts before losing to former World champion David Taylor of the USA 10-0 in the 86kg semifinals. He will face either four-time Worlds bronze medallist Ali Shabanau or European bronze medallist Myles Amine in the bronze medal contest.
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Anshu Malik (women’s 57kg), who went down fighting to double Worlds medallist Iryna Kurachkina 8-2 in the first round, had a reason to celebrate her birthday on Thursday as she made it to the repechage round following the Belarusian’s progress to the final.
Anshu will meet Rio Olympics silver medallist Russian Valeria Koblova in her first repechage match.
The star of the day was Ravi, who made a sensational comeback to beat double Worlds medallist Kazakh Nurislam Sanayev ‘by fall’ in the semifinals.
Ravi, who led 2-1 in the first period, trailed 2-9 early in the second as the Kazakh defied his head injury to roll the Indian over with a double-leg hold.
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However, Ravi first closed the gap to 5-9 and then showed his class to pin the Kazakh spectacularly to reach the final.
Earlier, Ravi beat Pan American silver medallist Colombian Oscar Tigreros 13-2 and Bulgarian Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to enter the last-four.
In his opening bout, which was locked at 2-2 after the first period, Ravi relied on a double leg attack on Tigreros for a crucial takedown. The Indian accumulated points at a faster pace to outclass the Colombian.
In the quarterfinal against Individual World Cup bronze medallist Vangelov, Ravi was 6-0 up in the first period. He outwitted Vangelov in an action-packed second period to wrap up the contest with 16 seconds left on the clock.
Deepak claimed his opening bout on technical superiority, beating African champion Nigerian Ekerekeme Agiomor 12- 1. He staved off a strong challenge from Chinese Lin Zhusen to post a 6-3 win and reach the semifinals.
At 3-3, Lin had the upper hand after having scored the last points. A desperate Deepak dug deep into his strength and agility to exhibit a spectacular takedown on the Chinese and take the bout.