The men’s kabaddi team from India defeated Pakistan 61–14 on Friday in the Asian Games 2023 semi-final held in Hangzhou, People’s Republic of China.
With this win, the Indian men’s kabaddi team advanced to their seventh Asian Games final. India’s loss to Iran in the semi-finals prevented them from competing in the Jakarta 2018 final. Prior to event, India had won every gold medal in kabaddi since the sport’s inception in 1990.
In the Asian Games 2023 kabaddi semifinal match against Pakistan, India left nothing to chance.
India made a small error in the beginning when the Pakistani defense scored two tackle points quickly. India was reduced to three points by a two-point attack by Mazhar Iqbal of the Pakistani kabaddi team. However, the Indian kabaddi squad rapidly recovered and gave Pakistan an all-out.
India quickly overtook Pakistan 10-4 after falling down 0–4. Naveen Kumar scored eight of those ten points with multi-point raids.
After being thwarted by the Pakistani defense on the initial assault, Pawan Sehrawat launched a spectacular raid to widen the distance between the two teams. Aslam Inamdar quickly joined in as well.
From then on, it was all one-way flow to India. India lead Pakistan 30–5 at the break after forcing two more all-outs.
“The scoreline might look one-sided but to be honest, we pulled back after the first 20 minutes, or we could have scored even more. We dominated the game and controlled the momentum, but we were not at maximum intensity,” India coach Bhaskaran Edachery said after the match.
“This was an important match but the real challenge will be tomorrow in the final, that is what our target is. We wanted to conserve energy, give everyone mat time, preserve our players and did not want to take any chances with anyone before the final against Iran, which is why we took out Pawan and Naveen in the 2nd half. But all our 12 players are fit and ready to go for the main thing,” Edachery added. (H/T – Sportstar)