For Ravi Kumar Dahiya’s village Nahari, his win is more than just the medal
- India's Ravi Kumar Dahiya will now compete for gold on Thursday
- For his village in Haryana, his win came as a hope not just for the medal but a better life
- It feels like Diwali today, Ravi Kumar's father said
Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya entered the men's freestyle 57kg final at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday by defeating Kazakhstan's Nurislam Sanayev. The 23-year-old wrestler from a small village in Haryana, who will now compete for gold on Thursday, has assured India of at least a silver medal in wrestling. His victory was celebrated by all Indians, but for his village - Nahari, about 10 kms off the Sonepat highway, his win came as a hope not just for the medal but a better life.
"It feels like Diwali today. He has made Haryana, our village Nahri and the nation proud. Ravi's win is India's win. It's indeed a big deal to come so far... History will be scripted tomorrow, he will clinch a gold medal for us," said Ravi Kumar’s father Rakesh Dahiya, adding in the same breath that the villagers of Nahari can now hope that their long-standing demand of a hospital and regular electricity supply will be fulfilled.
“Now that a medal has come. I am sure a hospital will come up soon. The village folk are still waiting for a regular supply of drinking water and electricity. I am sure things will change now,” Rakesh Dahiya told The Indian Express. The village reportedly gets only two hours of electricity during the day and about six hours in the evening.
It wasn’t just the friends and family of Ravi Dahiya who were watching his every move at the bout closely, but the entire village and the moment he played his life-defining move, the crowd burst into joy and started dancing. For them, it was much more than a medal for the nation.
While the rest of the villagers were celebrating after the referee raised Ravi Dahiya’s hand, his father Rajesh was reportedly glued to the TV and watched the replay highlights as long as he could. Ravi Kumar, who was trailing in the initial few minutes, turned the match into his favour in the dying seconds. With this, he became the second Indian wrestler to qualify for the gold medal clash at the Summer Games.