Wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya repeatedly bitten by opponent during match at Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo: The prominent bite marks on wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya’s right arm in pictures shared on social media after the Indian’s semifinal bout against Nurislam Sanayev indicate that the 57kg freestyle wrestler suffered badly at the hands of the Kazakhstan grappler at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.

The pictures suggest that Sanayev kept biting Dahiya during the course of the bout and still the Indian, who endured a lot the pain, went on to defeat the Kazakh opponent to secure a place in the final and assure India of at least a silver medal at the quadrennial sporting spectacle.

Dahiya became only the second Indian wrestler in history after Sushil Kumar — who had entered the 2012 London Games final but ended up winning silver — to make it to the title round at the Olympics on Wednesday.

Speaking to IANS from Tokyo on Wednesday, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) secretary Vinod Tomar said that he saw Dahiya “rubbing ice on his arm for a long time”.

“Yes, I was there during the bout, and though I did not exactly see the Kazakh grappler bite Dahiya, I did see our wrestler rubbing ice on his arm for a long time,” said Tomar.

Tomar said that it is not uncommon for wrestlers to bite their opponents during contests. “When a rival gains the upper hand, it is common for the other wrestler to do this (bite) to wrest back the advantage. Ravi has not spoken to us or his coaches and support start regarding this (biting) episode as it is a part of the sport,” said Tomar.

Tomar added that had Dahiya brought it “to our notice we would have appealed”.

During the 2012 London Olympic Games, India’s most decorated wrestler Sushil Kumar’s semifinal bout against Akhzurek Tanatrov of Kazakhstan in the 66kg category had come under the scanner as the Indian had reportedly bitten the rival’s ear.

A bleeding Tanatrov did not appeal and Sushil entered the final. On his return to India with the silver medal, Sushil had categorically denied that he had bitten his opponent’s ear.

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