Favourites India began their campaign on a rousing note crushing arch-rivals Pakistan 36-20 in the inaugural Kabaddi Masters Championship, in Dubai on Friday. At the packed Al-Wasl Sports Complex, Indian skipper Ajay Thakur’s brilliance found India opening up a commendable 22-9 lead at the break and there was no looking back.
Thakur scored 15 raid points and was equally strong in tackle which fetched the team 12 more points. It was a clinical performance by India in the first-half of that opening game.
After a rather sedate start for the first 10 minutes, the Indian team switched gears to completely destabilise Pakistan, taking a 13-point lead at the half-time.
Giving full credit to Thakur for his incisive raids, India coach Srinivas Reddy said: “He broke both their corners and dismantled their defence early on.”
Pakistan were no match to India once they built the momentum and their coach rued it on their late arrival after the team faced some Visa hurdles.
“We arrived only at 7am here today and got hardly anytime to practice. We hope to improve in the coming matches,” coach Nabeel Ahmed said.
Kabaddi has all ingredients to become Olympic sport: Rathore
Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore today said indigenous sport kabaddi has got all the ingredients to become an Olympic sport. Unveiling the first edition of Kabaddi Masters Dubai, Rathore said: “Hopefully kabaddi will very soon become a global sport and we will see it emerge as a strong contender for an Olympic sport.”
The nine-day six-nation meet has participation from football-crazy Latin American nation Argentina who are competing at the international level only second time after the 2016 World Cup in Ahmedabad. Kenya are also making their international debut in the tournament.
“Kabaddi has got all the qualities to become an Olympic sport. It has got speed, agility, power and teamwork. Hopefully when kabaddi comes to Olympics we will clinch the first gold medal,” the 2004 Olympic silver medallist said.