Ravi Kumar Dahiya, training peacefully with Sushil Kumar

Ravi Kumar Dahiya, who has secured an Olympic quota place in men’s 57kg freestyle class, is putting his best foot forward to lift his game for the Tokyo Games.

File photo of Ravi Kumar Dahiya taking a lap after bagging gold medal at Asian Championships in New Delhi.   -  Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

 

The four-month lockdown may have been frustrating for many, but World championships bronze medallist and Asian champion wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya is training hard without bothering too much about competitions.

Dahiya, who stayed back at the Chhatrasal Stadium in Delhi to focus on his training, never got bored with his monotonous lifestyle.

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“Earlier, 200-250 wrestlers used to stay here. The number reduced to around 20 during the lockdown. Initially I felt the difference, but quickly I got used to the new atmosphere. Actually, I found it to be very relaxing. You just have to eat and train (amid social distancing and other safety protocols) and worry about nothing,” Dahiya told Sportstar.

“The pressure of competitions is immense. It plays on your mind in the run-up to a competition. About 10-12 days prior to an event, we cannot sleep properly thinking about it. Training with a relaxed mind, alongside an idol like Sushil Kumar, is the best experience one can have. It’s like off-season training, working on improving your game,” said the 22-year-old from Nahri village of Sonipat district in Haryana.

“Sometimes, my family members call up and we keep in touch. But I never think of leaving my training and visiting home.”

Dahiya, who has secured an Olympic quota place in men’s 57kg freestyle class, is putting his best foot forward to lift his game for the Tokyo Games next year. “I am trying to improve my leg defence and attack. These are the most important areas for a wrestler belonging to a lower weight. Wrestlers generally crouch a lot in lower weights, so the game revolves around the legs. That’s why I am concentrating on the legs and trying to make the most of the time I have until the Olympics,” said Dahiya.