England and Thailand won their first games at the Kabaddi World Cup 2016 at Ahmedabad on Monday and came through in convincing fashion by demolishing Australia and Poland respectively.
Tope Adewalure’s 20 raid points and a combined 43 raid points by England stood out as the difference maker in the first match of the evening as the Europeans stood tall and never gave the Aussies any chance into the contest.
In the next match on the evening, Khunakon Chanjaroen of Thailand scored 10 raid points and five tackle points for a complete showing alongside skipper Khomsan Thongkham to humble the poles.
SUPER RAID AND ALL OUT BY THAILAND! The lead now a big, big 29 points. Score reads 34-5
Khunakon Chanjaroen with an incredible four point raid for Thailand. Under six points to go and they lead 24-4
That was quick! Thailand inflict an all out on on Poland and lead 11-2 in the first half
Thailand have started the better of the two teams. They lead 6-0 in the first half
We’re now ready for Thailand against Poland
43 raid points for England the difference maker in the match – Adewalure with 20, Keshav with 14, Kalia with 8 and single for Nayee
And fittingly Tope Adewalure brings the match to a close with a two point raid. England thump Australia to bag their first win. A big, big winning margin of 44 points to win 69-25
Under three minutes to go and England lead 63-22
ALL OUT! England inflict an all out on Australia as Schneider went for broke in a one-on-one with Adewalure. 62-21 to England
Australia with a successful raid upon return. SUPER RAID by Thomas Sharp after the video review confirms it
England take timeout with a massive 56-15 lead in their favour
And that run ends with an unsuccessful raid by Tope Adewalure. Score still a baffling 54-15 in favour of England
England are on a 13-0 run at the moment. 13 straight points in their bag while Australia have collected zero. A run since 40-14
SUPER RAID! Keshav Gupta with a super raid for England and brings his team four points to extend the advantage to 50-14.
Australia take a timeout with England leading by 41-14
Second half begins and England pick up where they left off. Three successful raids after another with Someshwar Kalia, Adewalure and Keshav Gupta before Kalia comes back empty handed.
Man of the first half is Tope Adewalure undoubtedly. 9 successful raids for 12 points and one tackle
England go into half time at 35-11 against Australia and it has been a comprehensive show by the Europeans.
We’re under a minute to go in the first half and England are leading by a massive 33-9 margin
Tope Adewalure with six raids and all six have been successful. He’s picked up eight points in the process. Well supported by Keshav Gupta who has 7 points for the English side
Tope Adewalure with one, two and three touches for an incredible raid and England continue to dominate the first half. Lead 22-7
Super Raid by England and they lead by 17-5. Do-or-die for Australia and it doesn’t come good.
England have built up a massive 10-1 lead in the first half. Successful raids by Tope Adewalure, Keshav Gupta and Someshwar Kalia
And we’re go! Australia with the first raid attempt and it is unsuccessful. England open their account
Kenya coach Laventa Oguta is breaking stereotypes and gender divide
David Mosambayi remembers watching jaws drop and eyes widen from those assembled to receive him and the Kenya national kabaddi team at the Ahmedabad airport. The reactions however weren’t for the sight of the tall and muscular players, but for the elegantly dressed woman in a business suit, Laventa Oguta, leading them out while giving them instructions.
The curious eyes reckoned Laventa was a manager. She was in fact the head coach. “I couldn’t understand their Hindi, but their body language was quite funny,” chuckles the Kenya captain. But he recalls Laventa simply walking past the puzzled inquisitors. She had another serious concern on her mind. “We don’t have strong enough left and right covers. They’re not in good rhythm yet,” she laments, a day after the Kenyans beat Poland 54-48. Mosambayi understands why it was thought odd to have a men’s national kabaddi team have a woman as its coach. “People didn’t believe that a lady knows what is needed to groom a strong team in an aggressive sport like this. But madame has done much more for us,” he explains.
Apart from just being the national team coach, the 32-year-old is also the chief scout and president of the Kenya Kabaddi Association. back home, ‘madame’ faces no such questions about her gender when it came to coaching the national team.
Society is such that there is a lot of respect for women in Kenya,” Laventa says. “There’s never been a problem for me when it comes to coaching. What matters is how you communicate and what you can do,” she adds.
Furthermore, at the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi where the national team held their preparation camp ahead of the World Cup, Laventa holds training sessions for boys and girls every Sunday — on the same makeshift mat. “The girls don’t really have many players to compete with, so they practice against the boys. It’s very good practice for the girls and they’ve become strong players,” she says.
Simultaneously, the game in Kenya has propelled the idea of women being equal to men when it comes to contact sport. Laventa herself though was quite familiar with contact sport. Since 2004, she’s been a part of the Kenyan national rugby team and had even come close to being part of her country’s rugby 7s team that was to travel to Rio for the Olympics, but for an untimely knee injury.
First hand experience
She had first stumbled across the idea of kabaddi by finding the recording of the 2010 Asian Games final between India and Iran – while looking for rugby videos.
Intrigued, she started gathering as much knowledge about the game as she could and started teaching the game. And when the Pro Kabaddi League came up two years later, she could not resist taking the trip to India to watch the game first hand. “The tournament was at the same time as a rugby national camp. But I lied that I had some family issues that I needed to sort out so I could go to India,” she says. Since then, she’s been to all four PKL seasons to help teach the game better.
“She has taught each and every player on the team,” Mosambayi says. Hence when the time came to pick the national coach for the country’s first ever appearance at a kabaddi World Cup, Laventa was the obvious choice.
In a game fuelled by aggression, she serves as a calmly poised coach during training. “There is a lot of respect for me, but these are still men and they have their ego. So if I shout at them, they might get offended,” she says. Yet that hasn’t stopped her from unleashing a flurry of animated gesticulations as she watched her team’s opener.
Mosambayi jokes that she does have a hot-tempered streak and can flare up after persistent errors.
“She can be quite scary then,” he laughs. He rates her as the heart of the team, the one keeping the morale up at all times and engaging in Swahili songs to help lift the mood before matches to help soothe the nerves. Kenya is used to her by now. But the rest of the world is still opening up to the idea of a woman coaching a men’s kabaddi team. Shortly before the World Cup, the England side travelled for an exposure tour to Nairobi to play Levanta’s wards. There Mosambayi saw the first glimpse of the shock that he saw when he landed in India. “They were in awe. Eventually, they came and congratulated her,” he adds.