India’s Ravi Dahiya left it late to reach the Tokyo Olympics final in the men’s 57kg when he beat Kazakhstan’s Nurislam Sanayev by fall in the semi-final but with the win, he became just the second Indian wrestler after Sushil Kumar to reach a gold medal bout at the Olympics.
Dahiya will face Russia’s Zaur Uguev in the final on Thursday and it will be a huge ask for the Indian against the two-time world champion.
The Indian seeded fourth has done extremely well to make the final but winning the gold medal ahead of the Russian will take a lot of doing.
Uguev came into Tokyo in frightening form riding a five-tournament 16-match win streak.
After a disappointing world championship in 2017, Uguev has been dominant in the weight category winning gold medals at the 2018 and 2019 World Championships.
The Russian has since medaled at 15 consecutive events and has podium-topping finishes in 12 of those appearances.
The 26-year-old met Dahiya in the 2019 World Championship semi-final where he won 6-4.
Zaur Uguev career achievements
|2017 European Championships||Bronze|
|2018 European Championships||Silver|
|2018 World Championships||Gold|
|2019 World Championships||Gold|
|2019 European Games||Bronze|
|2020 Individual World Cup||Gold|
Uguev though was seeded second behind Serbia’s Stevan Micic but has proven his worth in Tokyo by reaching the final while Micic fell at the first hurdle.
The Russian, though, has had to come through close bouts in Tokyo beating USA’s Thomas Gilman 5-4 in the Round of 16. In the quarter-final, Uguev just about edged past Uzbekistan’s Gulomjon Abdullaev. In the semi-final, he beat Iran’s Reza Atrinagharchi 8-3. The win took his international win-loss record to an amazing 82-9.
Uguev at Tokyo 2020
|Round of 16||Thomas Gilman||5-4 (Victory by points)|
|Quarter-final|| Gulomjon Abdullaev||6-6 (Victory by Points)|
|Semi-final||Reza Atrinagharchi||8-3 (Victory by points)|
Ravi Dahiya won his first two encounters by technical superiority before storming back from 2-9 down to beat Sayanev by fall.
The Indian has been excellent at the Tokyo Olympics and is probably in the best shape to beat the great Russian.
The best two wrestlers in the 57kg category have reached the Olympic final and it promises to be a spectacle.