Young Indian wrestler Ravi Dahiya stated on Thursday that he earned just a silver medal at the Olympics at this point and will work hard to improve so that he may complete the unfinished mission of winning a gold medal at the 2024 Paris Games.
The 23-year-old Dahiya remarked in an interview after his 57kg final that a silver medal will never satisfy him, despite the fact that his performance would be significant for Indian wrestling.
‘I did not come to Tokyo for a silver medal. It will not give me satisfaction. Maybe this time I deserved only a silver because Uguev was a better wrestler today,’ Dahiya said.
Dahiya used every trick to get through world champion Zavur Uguev’s defence, but the Russian wrestler stood firm, never allowing the Indian to unleash his renowned persistent attacks. ‘His style was very good. I just could not find a way to play my game. I don’t know what I could have done. He wrestled very smartly,’ the two-time reigning Asian champion said.
Dahiya was battling from the front, according to his coach Mahabali Satpal, and the trainers in Tokyo should have taught him to wrestle from the flanks. ‘The coaches (Jagmander Singh) there should have told him to change the strategy. The Russian was beatable, Ravi is a better wrestler than him, it’s a golden chance that has been missed for a historic gold,’ rued Satpal, who has coached Dahiya since he was 12.
Dahiya did not seem excited when told that his silver-medal performance meant a lot to Indian wrestling. ‘Wo to theek hai but I can’t sit on a silver. I have to stay focussed and work on my technique and get ready for the next Olympics Games,’ he added.
Rakesh’s father and family have made several sacrifices to bring him to this point. Rakesh still works on rented fields to support the family.
The Haryana government has declared a 4 crore cash reward for him. Dahiya stated that he is not thinking about money because all he cares about is winning an Olympic gold. He also added that he will not put pressure on his father to leave his farming work. ‘He feels happy by working. It is up to him if he wants to rest or not. I won’t put any pressure on him,’ he said.
His village, Nahri, had waited for an Olympic medal in the hopes that it would alter the fate of its residents. Dahiya said that his village deserved to be transformed. ‘Yes, my village has given three Olympians to India, so it deserves basic facilities. I can’t prioritise what it needs first. It needs everything. Everything is important, good schools as well as sports facilities,’ he shared.
Nahri, around 65 kilometres from New Delhi, lacks reliable electricity and drinkable water, as well as a decent sports facility. Despite this, the hamlet has produced three Olympians: Mahavir Singh, Amit Dahiya and now Ravi, who is also an Olympic medalist.