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Is Ravi Kumar Dahiya India's biggest medal hope in men's freestyle wrestling at the Tokyo Olympics 2020?: A SWOT analysis

Ravi Kumar Dahiya (Image source: UWW)
Ravi Kumar Dahiya (Image source: UWW)
ANALYST

Ravi Kumar Dahiya was the first Indian men's freestyle wrestler to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics 2020. He qualified for the quadrennial event when he won his quarter-final bout against Yuki Takahashi of Japan in the -57 kg men's freestyle category at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships. Ravi Kumar Dahiya has since improved leaps and bounds and is one of India's biggest contenders to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Ravi Kumar Dahiya first burst onto the scene after winning a silver medal at the 2018 World U23 Wrestling Championships in the -57 kg category. Soon after, he became India's number 1 choice in the senior ranks as well, ahead of the likes of Sandeep Tomar and Rahul Aware in the -57 kg category.

Ravi Kumar Dahiya participated in the 2019 Asian Wrestling Championships and came 5th. However, his biggest shot to fame came at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships when he surprised everyone after winning a bronze medal in his weight division and subsequently earned a quota spot for India at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

The confidence of Ravi Kumar Dahiya skyrocketed after qualifying for the Olympics. He won the gold medal at the 2020 Asian Wrestling Championships and defended his title at the 2021 continental championships in his weight category.

Given his spectacular improvements over the last three years, Ravi Kumar Dahiya has become one of India's biggest medal hopes at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. This article will look at Ravi's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Strengths of Ravi Kumar Dahiya

Ravi Kumar Dahiya's biggest strength will undoubtedly be the extent of his reach. For a wrestler competing in the -57 kg weight division, Ravi is very lanky, standing at 5'7". This gives him an added advantage while attacking the legs of his opponents.

Ravi is also a very swift mover on the mat. He has the ability to evade a powerhouse attack by this virtue of his. Of late, Ravi Kumar Dahiya has also worked a lot to improve his endurance levels. This has made him a much stronger wrestler than he was in 2020.

His agility combined with his improved stamina has made Ravi Kumar Dahiya a complete wrestler in his weight division. Given his strengths, Ravi will be a force to reckon with at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Weaknesses of Ravi Kumar Dahiya

Ravi Kumar Dahiya's biggest shortcoming will be his vulnerability against a strong leg attack. This is common with other Indian wrestlers like Bajrang Punia as well. However, in Ravi's case, this can prove to be much more fatal as he is very tall and before he knows it, he will end up conceding too many points.

Ravi also has a knack for giving away too many points in a jiffy. He might be leading by a significant margin, but he can give away his advantage if he falls prey to a strong takedown. The reason for this is his long legs which allows his opponents to roll him rather easily using the leg-lace technique.

Opportunities for Ravi Kumar Dahiya

Ravi Kumar Dahiya has arguably been India's most improved wrestler in the current Olympic cycle. His transition from junior to senior ranks has been quite smooth and is currently India's best bet to win a medal in wrestling at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

Ravi has won medals in every major championship since his bronze medal-winning performance at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships. He was crowned the Asian Champion in his weight category in 2020. However, the post-effects of the Covid lockdown did hamper his training. In his first international tournament since the lockdown, the Individual World Cup in Belgrade, Ravi was eliminated in the 1st round of the competition and was placed 18th out of the 24 wrestlers that participated in that event.

Ravi made a very strong comeback in 2021 as he defended his Asian title in the -57 kg. He won a silver medal in the Poland Open ranking series event in the -61 kg category. Ravi Kumar Dahiya has won almost every accolade in his short senior career and the Tokyo Olympics 2020 will be a golden opportunity for him to become a superstar of Indian sports.

Threats for Ravi Kumar Dahiya

Ravi Kumar Dahiya's major competition at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 will be Zaur Uguev of Russia. However, Uguev is seeded number 2 for the Olympics while Ravi is seeded number 4. This in effect means that both these grapplers will be drawn in different halves at the Tokyo Olympics.

Among those who are unseeded, Ravi Kumar Dahiya lost to Gulomjon Abdullaev of Uzbekistan in the final of the Poland Open 2021 by a margin of 3-5 but in a higher weight category of -61 kg. He has gotten the better of the likes of Japanese Yuki Takahashi and Iranian Reza Atri. Overall, Ravi is looking decently placed in his quest for Olympic glory in Tokyo.

When is Ravi Kumar Dahiya's first match and who is he facing?

Ravi's first match is scheduled for August 4, 2021. The draw for his matches is yet to be announced.

Also Read: Bajrang Punia at the Tokyo Olympics 2020: SWOT Analysis


Edited by Diptanil Roy
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