Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hailed wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya's "fighting spirit and tenacity" after he clinched the silver medal at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics 2020 in the men's wrestling freestyle 57kg category.
There were expectations that the 23-year-old Dahiya would become India's youngest Olympic champion but ROC's Zavur Uguev defended well to win comfortably. Dahiya lost 4-7 to the reigning world champion in the final.
"Ravi Kumar Dahiya is a remarkable wrestler! His fighting spirit and tenacity are outstanding. Congratulations to him for winning the Silver Medal at #Tokyo2020. India takes great pride in his accomplishments," PM Modi tweeted.
President Ram Nath Kovind also praised the wrestler. He tweeted: "India is proud of Ravi Dahiya for winning the wrestling Silver at #Tokyo2020. You came back into bouts from very difficult situations and won them. Like a true champion, you demonstrated your inner strength too. Congratulations for the exemplary wins & bringing glory to India."
Meanwhile, Dahiya became only the second Indian wrestler to win a silver at the Olympic Games, taking India's medal tally at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 to five (two silver, three bronze).
The wrestler from Nahri village in Haryana had outclassed Colombia's Tigreros Urbano (13-2) in his opener and then outwitted Bulgaria's Georgi Valentinov Vangelov (14-4) in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, he erased a massive 2-9 deficit to pin Nurislam Sanayev.
Sushil Kumar, who is now in jail on charges of a murder, is the only other Indian wrestler to have made the final at Olympics.
He had won a silver at the 2012 London Games, where Yogeshwar Dutt also won a bronze. Sushil had won a bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games.
KD Jadhav had won a bronze in the 1952 Helsinki Games. Sakshi Malik had become the first woman wrestler to win an Olympic medal when she clinched a bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
(With PTI inputs)
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