CHENNAI: Evolution of a sportsperson is as critical as the game. Especially in contact sport like wrestling. Ravi Dahiya and his team knows it. Ravi qualified for the Olympics way back in 2019 and the time in between was utilised to see add few tricks to his already strong weaponry. Videos of all his potential opponents were dissected meticulously. Three weapons, as his camp describes, were quietly worked out and installed during training. All in secret.
"Going into such events, every wrestler needs to iron out his flaws and add new weapons to his armoury. We worked on three moves that can surprise his opponents and they worked wonders till Wednesday. We ensured he practised those moves without anybody noticing him," Satpal Singh better known as Guru Satpal, head of Chhatrasal Stadium where Ravi has been training since he was 11, told The New Indian Express.
Ravi defeated Colombian Oscar Eduardo Tigreros Urbano (13-2) and Georgi Valentinov Vangelov of Bulgaria (14-4) on technical superiority to set up a semifinal clash with Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan. He had beaten Nurislam twice in the past and was leading narrowly after the first period. The Kazakh, however, turned the tables on Ravi in the second as he effectively used leg lace (a move in the game) to roll over the Indian and amass points. He was leading 9-2 at that stage with the clock ticking away. Ravi, however, was unfazed as he first effected a takedown to narrow down the lead and then got the hold of his rival with a double leg attack that resulted in a victory by fall with a few seconds remaining in the bout.
"I have beaten Sanayev twice before, so I knew I can pull it off despite trailing by a huge margin. I was assured inside, but I should not have conceded the lead and made it a close fight. That was pretty bad of me," Ravi was quoted as saying after the semifinal. He will face reigning world champion Russian Zavur Uguev in the final. The Russian had defeated him in the 2019 World Championship semifinals.
Like the wrestler himself, coach Satpal was also assured despite the huge lead his opponent has taken. "He can fight throughout the day. That's his strength. He never loses his cool and has the stamina to overcome any deficit. The leg lace move was brilliant but the way Ravi pinned the Nurislam down was remarkable," added the coach.
Satpal is optimistic about his ward winning a gold medal and creating history especially with three new weapons in Ravi's armoury. As expected, he will, however, throw light on the new moves only after the gold medal bout is over.