Ravi Dahiya: Belgrade springboard for gold dash
A silver at the Tokyo Olympics had put wrestler Ravi Dahiya in the limelight. And the 24-year-old is out to prove that he is no flash in the pan.
Having won the 57kg-category gold medal at the recently-concluded Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Dahiya is now focused on the upcoming World Championship and next year’s Asian Games. “My goal is to do well there as well for my country. It would be great if I can win gold in both these competitions,” Dahiya told The Telegraph.
The World Championship will be held in Belgrade from September 10 to 18. But he will have more than a year to prepare for the Hangzhou Asian Games, which has been postponed to September, 2023. Dahiya was a bit unhappy after winning the silver in Tokyo, having set his heart on gold. He lost the final to the then reigning world champion Zavur Uguev. He would want to make up for that loss in Paris and bring home a medal of a brighter hue. “Paris is still two years away. However, I will be preparing myself with the upcoming competitions. The key is to keep myself fit and consistent. I have to take every competition very seriously and grow with each and every match. Focus and discipline are crucial for success in Paris 2024.”
Dahiya feels motivated by the expectations people now have of him. After Tokyo, it is expected that he would bring home medals. But does that put extra pressure on him? “No, I don’t think that way. It is actually the love and support from the people of my country that motivates me. They inspire me,” Dahiya said.
Dahiya is now keen to improve upon the bronze medal he won at the World Championship in 2019. “The World Championship is a very important and high profile competition. The world’s best wrestlers compete in this competition. “My goal is to do better this time in Belgrade and try and get the best prize for my country.” Last October, after being nominated for the Khel Ratna, Dahiya had iterated his goal of winning an Olympic gold.
“Yes my goal was gold in Tokyo. I worked very hard for it and I was a bit disappointed that I lost by a very small margin. I still feel I could have got it (gold),” Dahiya had said.
“But that has only made me stronger. I am preparing in all earnest for the upcoming competitions.” The young wrestler is also keen to do his bit for society. He is associated with the Smile Foundation that works for underprivileged children.
“The Smile Foundation’s ‘Shiksha Na Ruke’ initiative is a fantastic endeavor. They help underprivileged kids all over India. I am blessed that I got the opportunity to support their cause. “Education and proper nutrition are basic necessities and I feel no child should be deprived of that.”