When the Indian women's Kabaddi team won hearts for hijab gesture

India and Iran faced off in the 2014 Asian Games final
India and Iran faced off in the 2014 Asian Games final
Prasen Moudgal

In the world of sports, the importance of sportsmanship is unparalleled. While tensions and sledging between two teams add to the drama, acts of helping out the opponents go a long way in bringing fans closer to the game.

MS Dhoni allowing the youngsters to lift trophies, and Grant Elliott helping Dale Steyn to get back up on his feet after a loss in the semifinal of the 2015 World Cup are just a few of the many moments that are deeply ingrained in the memory of cricket fans.

Similar is a story in Indian sports, which saw the Indian women's kabaddi team winning hearts with a kind gesture during the 2014 Asian Games that were held in Incheon.

Easy path to the final

The women's team entered the competition as the defending champions and remained unbeaten all the way until the summit clash, which was against heavyweights Iran.

The Indian women were dominant all through the final and put their opponents under pressure. During the second half, an Iranian raider's attempt to pick up a raid point went in vain as she was pushed out of the court by the Indian defenders.

However, in the process, the raider's hijab came off and the Indian players quickly covered the raider's face with their hands in a memorable moment of respect.


After the game, Indian team captain Tejeswini Bai spoke about how the gesture to help out their opponent came by instinctively.

“We need to respect their religious sentiments. When the hijab fell from her head, we could see her desperation. So it was natural for us to help her," she said.

Edited by Suromitro Basu


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