With Nation's Golden Dreams in Reach, India's Ravi Remains Focused
Thursday, August 5, 2021 - 04:38 By United World Wrestling Press
CHIBA, Japan (August 5) – When Ravi KUMAR (IND) steps on the mat tonight at the Makhuari Messe in Chiba, he'll be only the second Indian wrestler to compete for an Olympic Gold. For a nation obsessed with wrestling, the drama of the golden moment, and the pressure, builds by the hour.
And yet Kumar remained unfazed and cool under pressure now as he did in battling back from a 9-2 deficit in last night's semifinal fall over Nurislam SANAYEV (KAZ).
“I should not have conceded a huge lead against Sanayev,” he said. “I am not happy with it. I knew I could pull it off despite trailing. I was assured inside, but I should not have made it a close fight. I have some unfinished business”
Kumar will face rival Zaur UGUEV (ROC) in Thursday's final. The two last met in the semifinal at the 2019 World Championships, with the ROC athlete taking the victory, 6-4.
Ravi KUMAR (IND) reached the 57kg final. (Photo: UWW / Tony Rotundo)
While Kumar's dominant technical superiority wins in the first and second rounds were also impressive, it was his fall over Sanayev which will be regarded as one of the most stunning comebacks in Olympics history. The young Indian wrestler led 2-1 at the end of the break, but Sanayev answered with a takedown of his own and rolled Kumar three times in a leg lace to earn the 9-2 advantage. As the pair restarted it was Kumar who immediately scored a pair of takedowns and then quickly a fall at 5:21.
The match wasn't without an additional flare of drama. As Ravi pinned Sanayev, the Kazakhstan wrestler undertook a prohibited action. The action was brought to the attention of the Technical Delegates and after review by the referee delegates, sport director and technical delegates it was concluded that the action taken was an unintentional reaction. Based on the discussion and review of the incident no disciplinary action will be taken based on the conclusion of the incident.
As always, Kumar stayed focused on Olympic gold. "Tonight I will wrestle for gold," said Kumar. "That is my goal."