Kabaddi: Glorious double for India

The Indian wins in the two sections came about in a contrasting fashion. The home team men had to put their best foot forward against Pakistan, before winning the close encounter at 9-7, but the women’s team hardly had to break sweat en route to an easy 36-11 victory over Bangladesh.

Indian men celebrate after beating Pakistan in a thrilling final.   -  K. Murali Kumar

The victorious Indian women.   -  PTI

A pioneer of the game in more ways than one, India kept its stranglehold over the kabaddi men’s and women’s titles of the 12th South Asian Games at the R. G. Baruah sports complex here on Monday.

The Indian wins in the two sections came about in a contrasting fashion. The home team men had to put their best foot forward against Pakistan, before winning the close encounter at 9-7, but the women’s team hardly had to break sweat en route to an easy 36-11 victory over Bangladesh.

Having been pushed all the way in the league encounter by Pakistan, the Indian men, who had won that tie 9-8, were seen adopting a game-plan that was both defensive and cautious. Accordingly, the game made slow progress through the first session with the usual flow of points missing.

The home team kept its rival guessing before surging ahead with two successful raids, through Rahul Chaudhary and Rohit Kumar. Pakistan retaliated well through Ibrar Hussain and Mohammad Nisar to level the scores. The scoreline remained at 5-5 at the end of the first half, but straightaway into the second session India was able to gain two crucial points as skipper Anup Kumar and Rohit Kumar came up with incisive raids.

India went back to its defensive ways with Anup Kumar marshalling the resources at his command in quite an effective manner. The Indian captain stood out with his approach as he guided the team superbly in defence and then got another point by going in for a good raid. The ploy towards the end was to hold back and consume time and the final whistle left the Indian team and its supporters in a joyous mood.

Earlier, the final encounter between India and Bangladesh in the women’s section hardly had anything to offer as the host was always in the driver’s seat. With skipper Tejaswini Bai, Payel Chowdhury and Abhilasha Mhatre excelling in offence, points came for the asking for the home team which was also benefitted with a lona in the first-half.

Midway through that session Payel went for a raid and got injured when being held by the rival defence. However, this made little impact on the fortunes of the Indian team which only had to watch out for two rival players — Fatema Akhtarpoly and Farzana Aktarbaby — who were good in the offence.

Sure of victory, the Indian team slowed down its approach in the second session did a lap of honour after the triumph.

The results:

Men (final): India bt Pakistan 9-7. Women: India bt Bangladesh 36-12.