‘I Dream to Clinch Gold at World Championships’: Tokyo Olympic Silver Medallist Ravi Kumar Dahiya

© Photo : ravi_kumar_60/ InstagramRavi Kumar Dahiya
Ravi Kumar Dahiya - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.10.2021
Dahiya is India's second-ever silver medallist in the sport of wrestling. He joined the legendary Sushil Kumar, the country's only individual Olympian to bag two medals at the quadrennial mega-event in the elite list by accomplishing the same feat in the recently held Tokyo Games.
Having brought laurels to his motherland by winning a silver medal during the Tokyo Olympics, Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya is now eyeing a gold medal at the upcoming World Championships.
Interestingly, Dahiya credits incarcerated grappler Sushil Kumar for his heroics in Tokyo, where he became the fourth Indian male wrestler to win a medal at the biggest sports spectacle in the world.
Sushil, a two-time Olympic medallist, is currently lodged in Delhi's Tihar Jail after police charged him for the murder of a fellow wrestler named Sagar Dhankar.
Before Dahiya, Khashaba Dadasaheb Jadhav (bronze medallist at Helsinki in 1952), Sushil Kumar (bronze in 2008 in Beijing and silver in London 2012) and Yogeshwar Dutt (bronze in London 2012) won Olympic medals for India.
In an interview with Sputnik, Ravi Kumar Dahiya, who is also a World Championship bronze medallist, spoke about how his mentor Sushil transformed him into a medal-winning athlete, family sacrifices, his goals, and dream of becoming the next world champion.
Sputnik: Did you expect a medal when you arrived in Tokyo for the Olympics?
Ravi Kumar Dahiya: Absolutely. I was pretty confident about winning a medal in Tokyo because I had trained extremely hard and improved on my wrestling skills with the help of our coaches, which immensely helped me in Japan.
In fact, I would say I went to the Olympics with a clear target in mind – to win a medal for India and thankfully, I was able to accomplish my goal.
Sputnik: Were you disappointed at missing the gold medal, especially after coming so close to winning it in Tokyo?
Ravi Kumar Dahiya: Yes, I was extremely disappointed to lose the gold medal bout. But the disappointment didn't last too long as losing and winning are part and parcel of an athlete's life. Minutes later, I was celebrating my silver-winning effort and I was particularly happy to equal my mentor Sushil Kumar's record.
Sputnik: After your success at the Olympics, what is the next thing in your crosshairs?
Ravi Kumar Dahiya: Clinching a gold medal at the World Championships is my dream, after all, who doesn't want to become a world champion? I also want to stand on top of the podium in next year's Asian and Commonwealth Games, as I consider them as the toughest tournaments after the Olympics.
Sputnik: As you are from Delhi's popular Chhatrasal Stadium, did Sushil Kumar, who has been linked to it also, played any role in your preparations?
Ravi Kumar Dahiya: Sushil helped me a lot, especially during my initial days as a wrestler. When you are representing your nation at the international stage, you don't only need physical endurance, but you should be mentally tough as well. And someone, who has already competed in such events, knows all about it.
Sushil motivated me a lot, which played a major role in my campaign at the Olympics.
Sputnik: Did Sushil Kumar's arrest impact your preparations for the Olympic Games?
Ravi Kumar Dahiya: When Sushil was arrested in a murder case, I wasn't in India, I was training overseas and immediately after that I had to depart for Tokyo.
Although my preparations for the Olympics didn't take a hit, I was sad that such an incident had happened to Sushil because he had been my mentor and role model for years.
Sputnik: Who would you dedicate your medal to your parents, coaches, or anybody else?
Ravi Kumar Dahiya: I would dedicate my medal to my parents, because they made numerous sacrifices to make me successful in wrestling.
Despite enduring a tough time during my childhood and teenage years, my mother and father never made a compromise with my requirements. In fact, they always gave me more than what I asked from them.
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