This is the second time an athlete has attempted to bite their opponent at the Tokyo Olympics
Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya was left with a nasty full-jawed bite mark from his opponent during the semifinal of the 57kg men’s freestyle wrestling competition.
In a scene reminiscent of Mike Tyson infamously biting Evander Holyfield 24 years ago, Kazakhstan’s Nurislam Sanayev was seen biting Dahiya in an attempt to dislodge himself after being pinned to the ground.
Sanayev, a two-time world wrestling championship medalist, was visibly frustrated after Dahiya upstaged a dramatic comeback against the Kazak athlete, who led 9-2 at one point.
Dahiya managed to stun his opponent – who was on the verge of a win after getting eight points in a row – in the concluding stages of the match. This was when Sanayev, pinned to the ground, left a bite mark on Dahiya’s bicep.
Dahiya, however, did not give up and managed to sustain the last-minute takedown, likely to go down as one of the most iconic moments in Indian wrestling.
Despite his big win, the stunt has left several Indian fans outraged.
Former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag called Sanayev’s attempt “disgraceful” and praised Dahiya. “How unfair is this, couldn’t hit our #RaviDahiya ‘s spirit, so bit his hand,” he said in a tweet.
Dahiya soon after this match, went into the final against two-time world champion Zaur Uguev from Russia, but lost 7-4, ensuring a silver-medal victory for India in the men’s wrestling freestyle competition.
Just after his bout with Sanayev, Dahiya said he was “not happy” with his win and that he has “unfinished business”, referring to the final with Uguev.
“I had no business conceding that much lead against Sanayev. I am not happy with it,” Dahiya told news agency Press Trust of India (PTI). “I still have some unfinished business to do. I came with a target here and that is not complete yet,” he added in an apparent reference to the final.
Dahiya was given an ice pack for the bite, said a member of the Indian wrestling team’s support staff.
“It was paining when Ravi returned from the mat, but he was given an ice pack and he is fine. The pain has subsided,” the unnamed member was quoted as saying by PTI after the match with Sanayev.
This is not the first time at the Tokyo Olympics when an athlete attempted to dig into their opponent in frustration. Last week, Moroccan boxer Youness Baalla attempted to bite the ear of his opponent David Nyika, from New Zealand, but got his cheek instead.