Wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya assured a fourth medal for India at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics, winning his men’s 57kg semi-final match with an epic comeback on Wednesday.

He sensationally turned around the semifinal by pinning Kazakhstan’s Nurislam Sanayev to become only the second Indian wrestler to qualify for the gold medal clash at the Olympic Games.

The fourth seeded Indian was trailing 2-9 when Sanayev effected a few ‘fitley’’ (leg lace) moves to pull ahead but as the clocked ticked away, Dahiya regrouped and got hold of his rival with a double leg attack that resulted in a victory by fall.

The 23-year Dahiya had won both his previous bouts on technical superiority en route the final. Dahiya outclassed Colombia’s Tigreros Urbano (13-2) in his opener and then outwitted Bulgaria’s Georgi Valentinov Vangelov (14-4).

Dahiya will face reigning world champion Russian Zavur Uguev in the final, to whom he had lost in the 2019 World Championship semifinals.

In the semi-final in Tokyo, despite a huge deficit, the 23-year-old Dahiya did not panic, showing tremendous mental strength and dramatically turned the bout in his favour.

After the end of the first period, Dahiya had a 2-1 lead but Sanayev came prepared and attacked the Indian’s left leg, got a good grip and turned him thrice to log six points in a jiffy.

Suddenly, Dahiya’s lead was gone and he was staring at a defeat but his superior stamina and technical prowess was still at work. The remaining one minute was enough for him to turn the tide and he did it in style.

He got hold of Sanayev with a double leg attack and then gripped him tightly with the Kazakhstan wrestler’s back on the mat and finished the bout with a mighty ‘’pin’’.

“I had no business conceding that much lead against Sanayev. I am not happy with it,” Dahiya told PTI when asked about his stunning finale.

It just shows the kind of standards the Indian from Nahri village in Haryana has set for himself.

“I have beaten Sanayev twice before, so I knew I can pull it off despite trailing by a huge margin. I was assured inside, but I should not have conceded lead and made it a close fight. That was pretty bad of me,” he said.

“I still have some unfinished business to do. I came with a target here and that is not complete yet (winning gold).”

Tokyo 2020: Watch – The sensational takedown that took Ravi Kumar Dahiya to the gold medal bout

While Dahiya was a live-wire on the mat, Deepak Punia (86kg) made good use of a favourable draw to reach the semifinals but lost to the formidable American David Morris Taylor. He will now fight for bronze on Thursday against the winner of the repechage round between Myles Amine and Ali Shabanau.

It was always going to be a herculean task for Deepak to trouble the American, the 2018 world champion and the reigning Pan-American champion.

It was hardly a contest as Taylor effected one move after another to win by technical superiority in the first period itself. Deepak could make only one move on counter attack but the American did not give the Indian any chance to convert that into points.

The 22-year-old Deepak had earlier got past Nigeria’s Ekerekeme Agiomor, the African championship bronze medallist by technical superiority and then prevailed 6-3 over China’’s Zushen Lin in the quarterfinal.

Tokyo 2020, wrestling: What does repechage mean and does reaching semi-finals guarantee a medal?

Anshu Malik, on the other hand, lost her opening 57kg bout to European champion Irina Kurachikina but since the Belarus wrestler has reached the final, the 19-year old Indian has got a second chance to be in medal round.

She will now compete in the repechage round on Thursday and if she wins, she will also fight for bronze.

Dahiya is the only the fifth Indian wrestler to win an Olympic medal.

KD Jadhav had become India’s first wrestler and also the first individual Olympic medallist when he won a bronze during the 1952 Helsinki Games.

After that, Sushil Kumar enhanced wrestling’s profile by winning a bronze at 2008 Beijing Games and bettered the colour of the medal by claiming a historic silver in 2012 at London Olympics that made him India’s first athlete with two individual Olympic medals for nine years. The feat then has now been matched by shuttler PV Sindhu.

In the same 2012 Olympics, Yogeshwar Dutt won a bronze. Sakshi Malik became the first Indian woman wrestler to win an Olympic medal when she took a bronze in 2016 Rio Olympics.

With PTI Inputs