India continue kabaddi dominance with twin Asiad golds



India maintained their dominance in kabaddi at the Asian Games with both the men's and women's teams retaining their gold medals at the Songdo Global University Gymnasium here Friday.

The men's team, who have won every single gold since men's kabaddi was introduced in 1990 in Beijing, staged a late comeback to edge out Iran 27-25 in the final.

The women's team won the yellow metal for the second consecutive time beating Iran 31-21 in the title round.

With two golds in the discipline Friday, India jumped a place to eighth in the medal standings with 57 medals (11 gold, nine silver, 37 bronze).

The men's team, complacent for most part of the match, were given a major scare by the supremely athletic and agile Iranians.

But the five-time world champions utilised their experience to wriggle out of tough situations.

Iran, the silver medallist in the 2010 Guangzhou Asiad, took advantage of India's initial laxness to take a 16-7 lead within 14 minutes. The defending champions reduced the deficit through skipper Rakesh who won three points individually.

But Iran, aided by two 'lona' points raced to an eight-point lead in the 20th minute, leading 21-13.

They ousted 18 Indians in the first half, in comparison to 11 by their opponents and were on the verge of notching the biggest upset of the Games.

But India, aided by smart strategic changes, got their act together in the second half and equalised within five minutes.

They rested veteran defenders Gautam and Gurpreet and all-rounder Manjeet and fielded youngsters Subramaniam Rajguru, Surjeet Kumar and Nitin Madane that livened up the team.

India then suffered a big setback when skipper Rakesh got injured and was forced out of the next eight minutes of action, allowing Iran to lead 24-21.

But the Indians used all their experience to bundle out three Iranians while raider Jasvir collected two points to steal victory.

Earlier in the day, the women's team defended the top prize they won in the 2010 Guangzhou Games, the first time women's kabaddi was introduced at the Asiad. And similar to the men's final, Iran posed a stiff challenge to the women's team.

Following a close start, India surged to a 15-11 lead in the first half with the Indian defence effecting 13 outs which included two 'lona' points.

The two-time World Cup champions extended their supremacy in the second session with the defenders registering 14 outs and two more 'lona' points to confirm top spot. - IANS