Incheon: The Indian men's kabaddi team clinched its seventh successive gold medal at the Asian Games after coming from behind to beat a spirited Iran 27-25 in the summit clash here today.
The Indian team, which has been winning gold ever since the sport was introduced on the Asiad roster in 1990, was given a massive scare by Iran, who had finished runners-up in the 2010 edition as well.
Indian men's kabaddi team against Iran. Pic/ AFP
The Iranians took a massive 10-point lead in the first 20 minutes before the Indians got their act together to nullify the deficit and edge past in the closing few minutes of the match. In fact, the Indians managed to take a lead only in the 37th minute of the match.
Earlier today, the Indian women's kabaddi team notched up its second successive gold medal at the Asian Games, beating Iran 31-21 in the summit clash.
India thus maintained their supremacy in women's kabaddi, which made its Asiad debut in the previous edition in Guangzhou.
Indian women's kabaddi team celebrate after their win. Pic/ AFP
In today's match, the Indians were slow off the blocks but clawed back with utmost ease showing just why they are considered the powerhouse of the sport.
Against the very determined Iranians, India led the first half 15-11 before completely dominating the second half to seal the issue.
The Indians managed get the entire opposition declared out twice in the match, which gave them four 'lona' points -- a feat that Iran failed to do even once.
In the end, India were too strong and technically sound for the Iranians to beat despite their determination.
Nonetheless, it was an improvement for Iran on the podium as they had won a bronze in the previous edition.
Later Indian captain Tejaswini Bai said her team members were expecting a tough final against Iran after they saw the latter perform in the earlier stages.
"We knew we might face them in the final. They are a very aggressive side and we wanted to keep a big lead right through. We succeeded in our gameplan," said Tejaswini.
"We had a good combination of seniors and juniors and had trained well. But women's kabaddi is growing in standard and we had to fight harder than what we did in Guangzhou," she added.
India's coach Edachery Baskaran praised Iran and said "they are a very good team."
"But our team was well prepared for their aggression. We succeeded in our strategy. In offence Tejaswini and Mamatha, both Arjuna awardees, played very well and in defense Priyanka and Kishori Shinde caught the eye," he said.