Iran is an enormous force in reckoning that has grabbed a major limelight in the game of Kabaddi. If there is any nation that has given tough competition to the Indian Kabaddi team, it surely has been Iran, which comprises wrestling abilities in their arsenal.
Iran is known to have produced some of the finest defenders and agile raiders, who've certainly made a name for themselves, whether it be the franchise-based Pro Kabaddi League or international competitions.
An official from the Iranian Kabaddi team finalized their 12-member men's team from their 16-member squad, whose training programme was conducted in Jaipur, India, under the watchful eyes of the head coach, Gholamreza Mazandarani and assistant coach, Kharaghani.
Both the men's and the women's teams, who are to take part in the Jakarta Asian Games 2018, have been revealed. It came in as a shocker as the selection committee team decided to drop their former captain, Meraj Sheykh out of the squad.
Iran did not enter the Asian Games until the 2006 Games, which was held in Doha, Qatar, where they finished in the 4th place after failing to qualify for the play-offs. Iran could only manage to beat Bangladesh (56-39) then.
4 years later, Iran got the silver medal in the 2010 Asian Games, where Fazel Atrachali, Abozar Mighani, and Meisam Abbasi represented their nation for the first time at the Asian Games. They beat Korea (55-20) in the group stage, and Pakistan in a tight encounter (17-16). They were the runners-up after India beat Iran (37-20).
A similar scenario occurred in the 2014 Asian Games, when they topped their pool, winning all 3 games against Malaysia (56-22), South Korea (41-22) and Japan (53-21). They defeated Pakistan once again in the semis (25-14).
But they only could attain a silver medal after India beat Iran once again in a close margin (27-25). The final of the 2014 Kabaddi Asian Games is considered to be one of the finest comebacks by Team India after Iran dominated majority of the match.
In the women's category, introduced in the 2010 Asian Games, the Iranian women's team managed to get 2 wins out of 3 games in their pool after beating Chinese Taipei (62-18), and Malaysia (73-10), but lost a tight encounter to Thailand (38-41). They were the bronze medal holders as they lost their semi-finals to India (23-22).
In the 2014 Asian Games, Iran grabbed the top spot after victories over Japan (34-23), Thailand (37-25), and Chinese Taipei (43-19). They beat Bangladesh in the semis (40-15) and ended their campaign on a high note. They were beaten by India in the final (31-21).
The Iranian Kabaddi team has shown dominance in other Kabaddi tournaments as well. They were the runners-up in all 3 editions of the Kabaddi World Cup (2004, 2007 and 2016). They are 2-time champions in Asian Beach Games (2012, 2014) and 2-time silver medallists in Asian Indoor Games (2009, 2013).
Also at the recently held-Dubai Kabaddi Masters 2018, the Iranians with a squad of underdogs without their main players, managed to beat Korea and Kenya (twice) and beat an experienced side Pakistan (40-21). All in all, Iran has brought a competitive approach in the game of Kabaddi and has built a high reputation.
With the aspiration of achieving their first gold medal in the Asian Games, here's the squad of both men's and women's teams for the upcoming event:
• Fazel Atrachali (C)
• Abozar Mohajermighani
• Mohammad Esmaeel Nabibakhsh
• Hadi Oshtorak
• Abolfazl Maghsoodloo
• Hamid Mirzaee Nadar
• Mohsen Maghsoodloo
• Mohammad Ghorbani
• Meisam Abbasi
• Mohammad Mallak
• Mohammadamin Nosrati
• Mohammad Esmaeel Maghsoodloo
• Azade Seidi
• Ghazaal Khalaj
• Zahra Abbasi
• Faride Zarifdoost
• Mahboobe Sanchooli
• Sedighe Jafari
• Saeede Jafari
• Fateme Karami
• Zahra Karami
• Samira Atarodiyan
• Roya Davoodian
• Rahele Naderi