India’s Kabaddi hegemony ends after 28-year reign

Kirti Patil
Friday, 24 August 2018

India’s rule over the rustic sport for kabaddi ended in Indonesia, 28 years after the sport was introduced as a medal event

Jakarta: India’s rule over the rustic sport for kabaddi ended in Indonesia, 28 years after the sport was introduced as a medal event when a powerful Iran outclassed the seven-time defending champions 27-18 at Theatre Garuda here on Thursday.

Almost everyone had taken Kabaddi gold medal for granted, but the brew for India’s shock defeat was being made far across in Persia, what is now known as Iran, but the critics enthusiasts alike conveniently ignored the warnings.

The way India lost on Thursday, it clearly demonstrated that Iran was able to crack open India’s well-tucked secret that fetched them seven gold medals since 1990 Bejing Asian Games.

Coming to think of it, since the Pro Kabaddi League began dominating the scene in India, Iran had become cautious enough not to send all its players for the player’s auction.

Only select players were made part of the PKL and there have been enough instructions to all Iranians playing in the league not to open up with the Indians in terms of discussing tactics and strategies.

As if the 23-24 loss against Korea in the Group stage was not enough to wake up the sleeping giants, on Thursday Ajay Thakur-led India completely chickened out against Iran, which held its defence intact and then attacked when chance came to them.

Much before the final whistle was blown India virtually accepted the defeat making no real moves to win points, while Fazel attacked with more confidence. He was well supported by Abozar Mohajermighani, while the Indian players let their guard down too early after the teams went for break tied at 9-9.

Once the match resumed the complexion of Iranian attacked changed to bring India’s worst nightmare alive.

A while ago, Korea had defeated Pakistan to storm into the final—this will be the first time that no team from the sub-continent will figure for the gold medal match.

Just as both the semi-final losers were awarded bronze medals, Indian women restored some parity by making it to Friday’s final where they will meet Iran—an ominous sign no doubt.

Men results
Group A:

  • bt Bangladesh 50-21
  • bt Sri Lanka 44-28
  • bt Thailand 49-30
  • lost to Korea 23-24

Semifinals:

  •  Korea bt Pakistan 27-24
  •  Iran bt India 27-18

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