India destroys Pakistan in Kabaddi, advances to Asian Games Final with eyes on gold
India roared on with a resounding 61-14 victory over Pakistan in the kabaddi semifinal.
Indian men's kabaddi team led by Pawan in action (Via Olympics)
India versus Pakistan, as a sports theme, is nothing short of war. On Friday, it was the turn of the kabaddi team to rip the men from across the border, winning 61-14 to enter the men’s final at the Asian Games in Hangzhou.
This was a strange afternoon, where the Chinese fans were supporting India. There was plenty of cheering as India, led by captain Pawan Sehrawat, were in great form.
Even though kabaddi as a sport is several years old and originated in Tamil Nadu, from mud to synthetic surface has seen many changes. This was the seventh meeting between India and Pakistan in the Asian Games. Never before was the scoreline so thumping for India.
During the Asian Games in Hangzhou, one witnessed the decline of Pakistan as a sporting nation. Their hockey is in shambles and today their kabaddi team was very weak. “Yes, the Pakistan team is now doing badly,” captain Pawan told this writer.
“We have played them many times before but today we played a very solid game,” added Pawan. In the field of play, there were no bad vibes, even though the men in green looked lost. The sustained aggression and speed from the Indian team was outstanding.
“We had a five month long camp at the SAI campus in Bengaluru. This time, we are keen to win back the gold medal from Iran,” added the captain.
India wants to get back that gold from Iran
Kabaddi, as a televised sport in India, has gained popularity because of the pro league. It has benefitted the players immensely. “Yes, our own players and players from Iran have also gained. We know each other well now,” said Pawan.
There were many curious moments in the arena as the commentary was in Chinese language. The Chinese fans are not familiar with this game but their fans are admiring the speed and reflexes shown by the Indians.
In both halves, the Indians were in a punitive mood. Pakistan had taken a four-point lead to with start. From there on, India bounced back very fast. Points came at regular intervals as the electronic scoreboard kept jumping.
From the sidelines, instructions were being barked out by the Indian team’s support staff. It led to a change in players as the substitutes came on.
The entry into the final has raised hopes of one more gold medal for India. “We have the best wishes from billions at home and we will do our best,” prayed Pawan. Speaking about the rivalry between India and Pakistan in sports at large, kabaddi has also got its own importance. The Indian captain added that just as there is rivalry in cricket and hockey, kabaddi, too, brings the best out of Indian players.
Beating Iran will be challenging, as they are physically stronger. If the local crowd supports India on Saturday as well, it will make a difference.
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