Exclusive Interview with Ravi Dahiya: Find Out What Inspired Olympic Silver Medalist Dahiya To Dream Big
In 2007, an 11-year-old boy from a small village of Nahri in Sonipat district, Haryana, entered the Chhatrasal stadium in Delhi with the dream of representing India. In 2021, the boy is now Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Ravi Kumar Dahiya and the story behind his medal is just an inspiration to the nation. In an exclusive interview with PBNS, Dahiya shared his experience and stories that made him an idol for young wrestlers in India.
Ravi’s father carried milk, butter and ghee daily in the morning from the village
Ravi wasn’t very fascinated with wrestling as a child, but his father, Rakesh Dahiya, was avid wrestling. “I used to play Khushi in the village and from there I got an interest in wrestling,” Ravi said. Rakesh Dahiya (Ravi’s father) always wanted his son to make the country proud.
Rakesh took Ravi to Hansraj Ji, a formal student at Chhatrasal Stadium. Seeing Ravi’s interest in the sport and his talent, Hansraj and Rakesh decided to put Ravi in the Chhatrasal stadium for further training. Rakesh Dahiya has played a central role in Ravi’s career. Ravi, 23, said: “My father used to carry milk, butter, ghee and other things every morning from the village and his 12 years of daily struggle have been a crucial part of my life. “
Sushil Kumar’s bonze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics became an inspiration for Ravi
After spending some time at the Chhatrasal Stadium, Ravi slowly understood the nuances of wrestling. “But when Sushil Kumar won the bronze medal in Beijing, it was a life that changed his life,” said Dahiya.
Ravi said: “At that time, I thought if I did the same for the country, I would also receive the same amount of love from the nation and seeing the old people doing the hard work, I have also started to do the same. “
The slow and steady career of Ravi Dahiya
In the early years of wrestling Ravi struggled, but his first medal came at the National School Games and from there Dahiya never looked back. From 2013 he started to make his presence in international competitions.
The Asian Sub-Junior Championship was Ravi’s first international tournament, where he won a silver medal for India. In 2014, Ravi contested the World Championship but failed to secure a podium. In 2015, Dahiya won gold at the Asian Junior Championship, followed by silver at the World Junior Championship.
Towards the end of 2015, Ravi was injured and it took him almost 2.5 years to recover from his injury. In 2018, Ravi returned from injury to compete in the U-23 World Championship where he won a silver medal.
Dahiya secured his ticket to Tokyo in 2019, where he won bronze in his first senior world championship. From there he reached the Olympic podium, winning silver in Tokyo in the 57kg freestyle wrestling.
Dahiya during the Covid pandemic
Initially, due to the pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics were postponed, but at the same time it was also speculated that the games could be canceled. Ravi said: “My coaches and friends have told me that if by any chance the games don’t take place, you shouldn’t give up hope because these are your first games and you can aim for the Asian Games next year, the Commonwealth Games and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. “
Dahiya received all the support of his coaches and friends during the pandemic and he was also allowed to enter the stadium to train with very few athletes. All necessary measures have been taken to ensure the safety of the athletes. And finally, in 2021, Tokyo arrived, and Ravi Kumar Dahiya made history.