The 2018 edition of the Asian Games is set to commence on the 18th of August at Jakarta, Indonesia that will feature a 572-member strong contingent which will be representing India at the mega competition. While the contingent boasts of some fantastic talent that holds them in good stead for a number of medals, one of India's biggest gold medal hopes will be the Indian Kabaddi team.
Since the introduction of Kabaddi in the Asian Games in 1990, the Indian men's Kabaddi team has asserted its dominance, coming out on top in each edition and claiming the gold medal for seven successive editions, including the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon.
Similar is the case of the Indian women's team, which will be on the lookout for registering a hat-trick of gold medal wins, having claimed the top prize in the 2010 and 2014 editions of the tournament.
However, the stellar Indian team will have its task cut out this season with their biggest nemesis in the form of the Iran and Pakistan Kabaddi teams, which will also be taking part in the Games. If one was to go by the recently concluded Kabaddi Masters in Dubai, the Iran and Pakistan teams are definitely no push-overs.
The Kabaddi segment of the Games is slated to be held at the Garuda Theatre from the 19th-23rd August which will feature a total of 13 teams including Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh to name a few. Hosts Indonesia will be making a 'Kabaddi debut' while Sri Lanka is set to make a return after a long hiatus, having featured last in the 2002 Asian Games.
As the action is set to commence in a couple of days, here are some records that have been penned down or will be achieved as the mat is rolled out in the upcoming days.
#1 Most Number of Team Gold Medals - INDIA ( Men's - 7, Women's - 2)
Ever since Kabaddi was drawn into the Asian Games in 1990, India has stamped its authority on the game, clinching the title victory in all the seven editions till date and will come into the 18th edition of the Asian Games with the 'favourites' tag, boasting of a wide array of big-ticket players in the squad.
The Indian squad this time will be led by talismanic raider Ajay Thakur while the onus will also be on the women's team, gunning for their third straight gold medal with wins in 2010 and 2014 keeping them in good confidence to push for a hat-trick of wins.
#2 Most Appearances Made - 4 [ Ziaur Rahman (Bangladesh) ]
One of the best corner defenders in the world, Ziaur Rahman is a bronze medal winner from the 2006 Qatar Asian Games and is a veteran for Bangladesh, having represented his country in four editions so far including his debut in 2002.
The corner defender, who has also represented the Puneri Paltan in the Pro Kabaddi League will be playing a record fifth edition of the Asian Games if he steps onto the mat for Bangladesh in the upcoming tournament.
#3 Biggest Margin of Victory - 71 points (Bangladesh v Thailand)
Kabaddi is one game that is extremely fast scoring and once a certain team has a sizeable lead, there is no path of return on most occasions. One such match was contested in the 1998 Asian Games between Bangladesh and Thailand, while saw the former completely outclass the latter by a scoreline that read 84-13 at full-time.
On December 15th, 1998 at the Sirindhorn Sports Complex in Thailand, the two teams locked horns in a lop-sided match as Bangladesh thrashed a hapless Thailand outfit by a huge 71-point margin that remains the highest margin of victory in the history of the game so far.
#4 Most individual gold medals - 3 [ Rakesh Kumar (IND)]
Easily one of India's finest all-rounders in Kabaddi, Rakesh Kumar's lively raiding and colossal blocks first came to the fore during his debut in the 2006 Asian Games in Qatar.
Post-2006, the veteran all-rounder represented India at the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games and on both occasions won the gold medal with the Indian team, making him the only player to have clinched three gold medals in Kabaddi at the Asian Games.