Kabaddi Masters like a semifinal to Asian Games, says India coach

The six-nation kabaddi tournament in Dubai from June 22-30 will see India, Iran, Pakistan and Korea vie for top honours.

India is clubbed with Pakistan and new-comers Kenya in group A of World Kabaddi Masters.   -  THE HINDU

Newly-appointed kabaddi coach Srinivas Reddy feels the upcoming World Kabaddi Masters in Dubai is like a “semifinal” to the much-anticipated Asian Games where India is the defending champion.

The six-nation kabaddi tournament in Dubai from June 22-30 will see Asian giants India, Iran, Pakistan and Korea vie for top honours against newcomers like Argentina and Kenya.

“It’s like a semi-final tournament before the Asian Games against all the coveted teams in the Asian Games including Pakistan, Iran and Republic of Korea. It is a good opportunity for players to prepare themselves,” the 40-year-old who was named coach earlier this month, told media.

A former Indian player, Reddy won a gold at the 2005 Asian Championship in Iran and represented the country at several international tournaments. Having switched to coaching in 2013, Reddy worked as an assistant coach with the Telugu Titans and Haryana Steelers in the Pro Kabaddi League. Reddy was then appointed as the head coach of Jaipur Pink Panthers.

“Being a player for the Indian team and now becoming coach is a dream for any player. I am honoured to take charge and I am hoping to do my best for the country. My first aim is to win gold medal with the team in Dubai. We have been camping at Sonipat for about three months. We have the best raiders and defenders in the world. We are the stronger side compared to other teams such as Iran, Korea and Pakistan,” he said.

In top raiders like Rahul Chaudhari, Deepak Niwas Hooda, Pardeep Narwal, Monu Goyat, India has an ominous attack line with the defender duo of Surender Nada, Girish Ernak lending a perfect balance.

“At high level competitions, our players have the experience to play with accuracy and consistency. We are sure that we will play better and try to win the tournament,” the coach who hails from Telengana added.

India is clubbed with Pakistan and new-comers Kenya in group A, while group B features Iran, Republic of Korea and Argentina with top two teams making the semifinals.

Pakistan was no match to India at the 2014 Asian Games but Reddy said they’re not underestimating any teams.

Iran boasts of a strong set of players including Fazel Atrachali (U Mumba) and Abozar Mighani (Telugu Titans) who were sold for Rs 1 crore and Rs 76 lakh respectively in the Pro Kabaddi League auctions earlier this year.