Asian Games 2023 Kabaddi: Analysing India's performance at the tournament

Asian Kabaddi team (PC: Sportskeeda)
Asian Kabaddi team (PC: Sportskeeda)

The Indian kabaddi team had a dream run in the 2023 Asian Games. They secured impressive victories against Iran with a score of 33-29 in the men's category and a nail-biting 26-25 win against Chinese Taipei in the women's category. However, the journey to victory was not without its share of controversy, especially in the gripping men's final against Iran.

From the very onset of the tournament, the Indian men's team set the tone with a commanding 55-18 victory over Bangladesh. Subsequent victories against Thailand (63-26) and Chinese Taipei (50-27) solidified their position in the knockout stages.

However, it was in the semi-finals, against arch-rivals Pakistan, that they truly dazzled. A convincing 61-14 victory paved their way to the final. The showdown against Iran demanded a masterclass in kabaddi, and the Indians delivered.

The final demanded every ounce of their strength and strategy as they aimed to avenge their 2018 semi-final loss. Pawan Sehrawat’s super 10 and a strong comeback in the defence led the Indian team to a 33-29 victory, securing the gold in the medal tally.

Despite the controversy surrounding Pawan’s raid and its aftermath, which cast a shadow on the match, it highlighted the team's ability to focus, adapt, and come back to win after trailing in the initial phases.

Pooja Kajla steals the show in Women's kabaddi victory

The women’s team, on the other hand, faced stiff competition in the group stage. After a hard-fought draw against Chinese Taipei, they rallied against Thailand and South Korea, setting the stage for their dominance. In the semi-finals, a resounding victory over Nepal propelled them to the final.

Facing a determined Chinese Taipei side, they fought tooth and nail, with Pooja Kajla’s heroics guiding them to a narrow 26-25 victory and the coveted gold medal.

Critical to India’s success was the unrivalled teamwork and strategic brilliance displayed by both teams. In the raiding department, Pawan Sehrawat's super 10 in the final and Naveen Kumar's crucial super 10 against Pakistan, along with Sachin Tanwar's remarkable 14 raid points against Chinese Taipei, underscored their ability to perform under pressure.

In defence, Nitesh Kumar scored eight tackle points against Thailand, and Vishal Bhardwaj's high-five against Pakistan highlighted their versatility and commitment to shoulder responsibility, forming the chord of India's triumphant kabaddi campaign.

In the women’s category, Pooja Kajla's steadfast consistency, particularly her stellar 16-point performance against Chinese Taipei in the opening match and crucial 10 points in the final, displayed her mastery on the kabaddi mat.

Furthermore, the teams' comprehensive preparation was evident throughout the tournament, enabling them to adapt seamlessly to the challenges posed by their opponents.

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Edited by Ankush Das