Only Ravi Dahiya could have won from that 2-9 situation, says his coach Satpal Singh
Silver medallist Ravi Dahiya's coach said that he was proud of the wrestler's performance at the Tokyo Olympics Semi final
It was an exceptional performance by Ravi Dahiya to win his semifinal 'by fall' after conceding a massive 2-9 deficit, gushed his coach Satpal Singh, who also believes that his "gifted" ward's silver-winning show will further fuel the Olympic ambitions of the country's youth.
Dahiya set the mat on fire with his power-packed performance against Kazakhstan's Nurislam Sanayev on Wednesday when he pinned his rival after lagging behind. In the gold-medal bout on Thursday, Dahiya could not do much and went down 4-7 against Russia's reigning world champion Zavur Uguev.
"It was incredible and wonderful to watch because I have never seen someone winning after falling behind 2-9 and that too with just one minute to go," Mahabali Satpal told PTI in an interaction.
Satpal said in his 52-year wrestling career as a player and a coach, he has seen thousands of bouts and hundreds of good Indian wrestlers but he did not come across something like that.
"This (bout) is right up there with Sushil's semifinal in London when Sushil was trailing and then lifted his opponent (Akzhurek Tanatarov) on his shoulder to awe the world. That was incredible to watch and this (Ravi's bout)was too a super fight!" he added.
Satpal said Indian wrestling witnessed two watershed moments when he himself won the 1982 Asiad gold and when his trainee and son-in-law Sushil Kumar, who is now in jail on murder charges, won a bronze at the Beijing Games. And now Dahiya's performance will further help raise wrestling's profile. "What Sushil did (in Beijing with bronze medal) was massive for Indian sports.
He lifted the profile of Indian sports globally and now Ravi, coming from a middle-class family at an age of 22-23, has done the same and only he could have done that. The parents who used to take names of Satpal and Sushil will also talk about Ravi.
"My gold medal came when India had lost to Pakistan 1-7 in hockey on the same day. That had created an impression in our country, then Sushil's medal transformed the Indian wrestling and now what Ravi's medal will do is that it will put wrestling on centre-stage in Olympic sports.
"Earlier the kids who would come to me would often say, they have come to Chhatrasal stadium to become the next Sushil but now kids are saying they have picked the sport to be Olympic medallist. Ravi's medal will further fuel the ambitions of upcoming wrestlers and those who are uninitiated as yet," said the 66-year-old.
Satpal, who is also a three-time CWG silver medallist, said the way Ravi escaped from the very dangerous fitly grip of Sanayev is a testament to his immense physical and mental strength. Sanayev, after getting hold of Ravi's both legs, turned him thrice to open up a huge 9-2 lead but the 23-year-old Indian effected a sensational turnaround.
"What was incredible was to get out of that fitly grip. One more turn by Sanayev and Ravi would have lost by technical superiority. It's so difficult to get out of that grip because if you try hard, you can end up suffering a knee dislocation. We had trained on how to get out of that situation. More than the training, Ravi had the power and courage to try and get out of that fitly grip."
"When a wrestler trails by such a huge margin, his morale gets shattered. It was only Ravi who could have done that." Satpal also explained what makes Ravi a special wrestler.
"What is special about Ravi is that the intensity with which he starts the bout, he maintains that throughout. His physical power, mental strength and tactical acumen is outstanding. You have to take a decision in such a situation in one-hundredth of a second and he did that. He is an innocent boy. He does not talk much, nothing interests him except wrestling. He never skipped practice. He learns techniques quickly and apart from that, he is a gifted wrestler."
Satpal said working with seniors like Sushil since the 2019 World Championship benefitted Ravi a lot. "We had worked on his techniques in the last four months. The moves with which he pinned Sanayev were 'Bharti-Kalajam' and 'Lakkad-bagga'."
"Since the 2019 World Championship he has been training with Sushil, and that was a huge advantage he had of training with such a senior wrestler. Now my trainees have given four Olympic medals to the country in individual sports. I have tried to give everything to this sport."