Kabaddi World Cup: India won’t find it easy as Iran challenge looms large

Iran are considered to be title contenders and are capable of giving team India tough fight in their title defence.

Written by Saundarya Mehra | New Delhi | Published: September 29, 2016 10:18 am
kabaddi world cup, world cup kabaddi, kabaddi, india kabaddi world cup, world cup kabaddi, kabaddi world cup teams, world cup kabaddi fixtures, kabaddi news Meraj Sheykh has been a part of Pro Kabaddi League since the second season. (Source: PKL)

With only under a week to go for the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup, all teams have been preparing themselves for the big fight in India which starts from October 7 at The Arena by TransStadia in Ahmedabad. With 12 teams participating for the first time in the history of the competition, it won’t be as easy as it looks for the hosts nation.

Iran are considered to be title contenders and are capable of giving team India tough fight in their title defence. Meraj Sheykh, who has been a part of Pro Kabaddi League since the second season, plays for Dabang Delhi and is all set to lead his country for the mega event. Meraj is confident that his side has the caliber to lift the 2016 trophy.

Here’s a quick look at the sport in Iran and what makes them a force to reckon with:

A traditional sport in Iran, Kabaddi is historically known as Zou. Iran known for producing world class Wrestlers, have brought the traits of wrestling in their style of Kabaddi. Iran’s style of Kabaddi has strong resemblance to wrestling, and is clearly seen with their low-attacks in defense and use of grip while exhibiting force during attacks. Intense is the word for the Iran team and grip plays a major role there.

Iranians believes in playing Kabaddi with intense energy which makes them a strong contender, while Indians play a more tactical game. Because of their explosive style, Iran have given India a tough challenge in the Asian Games of 2010 & 2014, where India are undisputed Champions from 1990. Team India has faced Iran in the previous two World Cup editions – 2004, 2007 – and beat them on both the occasions.

Between the last Asian Games and this World Cup, Kabaddi has taken giant leaps forward, all thanks to the Pro Kabaddi League.

Merry Sheykh, Fazel Atrachali and Hadi Oshtorak were a part of Pro Kabaddi League season 4. Exceptional performance from the three Iranians saw them being appreciated by the Indian spectators. Fazel and Hadi were part of Patna Pirates, which went on to win the title for the consecutive season.

Atrachali, who was voted as the best defender in PKL-4, will be a tough nut to crack for the Indian raiders and making life more difficult for the hosts will be Fazel and Hadi. Indian skipper Anup Kumar is already aware of the threat Iran pose, and feels they will go the distance in the tournament. Iran commence their campaign against the USA on October 7.

POOL B: Iran, USA, Japan, Thailand, Poland, Kenya

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