Even as Indian wrestlers gear up for the Rio Olympics, they may have to face one of their own in the main event. An Indian-origin wrestler Vinod Kumar Dahiya is all set to represent Australia at the Rio Olympics, after he qualified in the 66kg weight category in Greco-Roman event.
The 31-year-old grappler secured an Olympic berth after winning a silver medal at the African/Oceania Olympic qualifiers in Algeria.
Vinod Kumar Dahiya hails from Khanda village in North Haryana. He became an Australian citizen only a year back. Moving to the country as an international student, Vinod climbed the college wrestling hierarchy. Based in Victoria, the Indian-origin wrestler has so far claimed six national championships and several medals at the Australia Cup and Canberra Cup tournaments.
Following the footsteps of his elder brothers, Vinod started wrestling at the tender age of just eight. Seeing his potential, he was sent to New Delhi’s 'Mahabali' Satpal's wrestling academy in 1998. Thereafter, he participated in state and national competitions for four years. He also competed in the popular Indian sport of ‘dirt’ wrestling competitions. He migrated to Australia in 2010, where he began training at the United Wrestling Club under former Wresting Australia President, another Indian, Kuldip Bassi.
As far this particular wrestling category and India is concerned, it has only one qualifier in Hardeep Singh for the Greco-Roman genres. In this case, India’s loss is Australia’s gain.