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Asian Games : Indians maintain supremacy in Kabaddi

Oct 3 () :  The Indian men and women defeated Iran to win the Gold in Kabaddi and continue their supremacy in the sport.

The Indians – Men and Women were defending their titles and it was a close match for the men as they defeated the Iranian men’s team 27-25, while their counterparts had it a bit easy with a 31-21 victory.

This was the 7th Gold on the trot for the Indian Men’s Kabaddi team as they have been winning the title each and every time since the sport was introduced as part of the 1990 Beijing Asian Games.

During half time, the defending champions were trailing Iran by a margin of 13-21 and it looked like their streak of 6 titles would come to an end. The Indians changed the strategy in the second half as they started being more aggressive – both in raiding and catching which paid off. The Indians finally drew level at the 33rd minute and in the final seven minutes of the game, got their nose ahead to win the game and take the gold.

Anup Kumar, India’s most experienced player, was the saviour as he initially got 3 points in the first half to help India reduce the huge lead which the fit Iranians had built. At a point, the Iranians led the Indians 17-7 and it was only Anup Kumar’s raid which helped reduce the lead.

With the help of a “lona”, the Indians struck back as they further reduced the gap and tied up with Iran at 21. When it all looked good, India fell back again and in the final minutes, Anup raided again to give India a one point advantage which finally was sufficient to keep the gold.

The Women’s side, unlike the men, led the Iranian side 15-11 at the half way stage but pulled ahead dramatically thanks to Abhilasha Mhatre. She helped the Indians gain crucial points with some good raids. By winning the gold, the women’s side helped India showcase their supremacy in the sport as no other nation has been able to win the gold in this event as the Men have won it 7 times and the Women twice – after it was only introduced in the last Asian Games in China.