CHENNAI: Silver is all that he could settle for. The scoreline read 4-7 against Ravi Dahiya in 57kg but the final was far more intense and close. Not the one to give up, Ravi toiled until the last second. The bout could have gone either way but world champ Zavur Uguev preferred brain over brawn to outwit the Indian. He quietly accumulated the points and defended with all his might.
The 23-year-old Haryana wrestler wasted no time after losing the final. He declared he would change the colour of the medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics. With age on his side, the Paris Olympics is very much possible. But what seems to be in doubt is the weight category he would chose to fight.
Ahead of the Games, the last event - Poland Open in June - he took part in, he competed in 61kg. Speaking on his decision then, he had told The New Indian Express, "Losing weight increases the risk of sustaining injury. Recovery also takes time so I competed in 61kg."
He though didn’t commit that he will move up the weight division after the Olympics. Satpal Singh, head of the Chhatrasal Stadium, where Ravi trains, agrees the move needs to be discussed with the wrestler once he returns from Tokyo.
"Moving up the next weight division needs to be discussed because he has to cut a lot of weight before the bout. It creates problems. Given that the weigh-in process happens on the day of competition, it makes recovery impossible. Let him come then we will discuss it with other coaches," said Satpal.
Another issue is that Bajrang Punia competes in the next weight category and a decision can be made only if Ravi’s senior counterpart decides to change his division. Kripashankar Patel, former India wrestler and coach of Railway Sports Promotion Board, asserted Ravi has to change the weight category soon if he intends to compete in the next Olympics.
"My advice to him will be to move to higher weight category. It’s very difficult to maintain weight in the same category for a long time. If you do that for a long time, you can end up damaging your internal organs. Besides, it will also put a cap on your strength as you cannot increase it after a certain point. Vinesh (Phogat) did that and Ravi should think about it. The transformation can happen gradually as he still has three years with him but he should do it," opined Patel.
Vinesh, Deepak miss out
No. 1 seed Vinesh Phogat made a shock quarterfinal exit, losing to Belarusian Vanesa Kaladzinskaya. As the day progressed, Vanesa lost her semifinal to China's Pang Qianyu bringing down curtains on Vinesh’s campaign in Tokyo.
The Haryana wrestler needed Vanesa to beat the Chinese to rejoin the 53kg competition through the repechage round and fight for bronze.
In the men’s freestyle 86kg category, Deepak Punia conceded a take-down in the last few seconds of the play-off against San Marino's Myles Nazem Amine to miss out on the medal. Anshu Malik (57kg) also lost her repechage round.