Pioneers of the game in more ways than one, India kept its stranglehold over the kabaddi men’s and women’s titles at the 12th South Asian Games here on Monday.
The Indian victories in both the categories came in contrasting fashion as the men had to put their best foot forward against Pakistan, before winning the close encounter at 9-7, while the women’s team hardly had to break sweat en route to an easy 36-11 victory over Bangladesh.
The Indian men, who were pushed in the league encounter by Pakistan before prevailing 9-8, were seen adopting a cautious and defensive strategy. The game, hence, made slow progress through the first session and the usual flow of points was not there.
Yet, India kept Pakistan guessing before surging ahead with two successful raids by Rahul Chaudhary and Rohit Kumar.
Pakistan retaliated well through Ibrar Hussain and Mohammad Nisar to level the scores. The scores were level 5-5 at the end of the first half.
Straightaway into the second session, India gained two crucial points as skipper Anup Kumar and Rohit Kumar again came up with incisive raids.
India then went back to its defensive ways with Anup marshalling his resources effectively. The Indian captain stood out for his approach as he guided the team superbly in defence and then got another point with another good raid. The ploy towards the end was to hold back and pass out time before the final whistle sent the Indian team and its supporters in raptures.
Earlier, the India women were always in the driver’s seat against Bangladesh in the title clash. With skipper Tejaswini Bai, Payel Chowdhury and Abhilasha Mahtre excelling in the offence, points came easily for the home team, which was also benefitted from a ‘lona’ in the first half.
Payel was injured midway through the first session as she went for a raid and was held by the Bangladesh defence. However, this made little impact in the fortunes of the Indian team which only had to watch out for two its rival players — Fatema Akhtarpoly and Farzana Aktarbaby — who were good in offence.
Sensing victory, the Indians slowed down things in second session. Bangladesh could hardly make any impact in this session too as the home team sealed victory and took a lap of honour.
The results: Men (final): India bt Pakistan 9-7. Women: India bt Bangladesh 36-12.