Asian Games 2023: India win men's kabaddi gold after beating Iran in controversial final; WATCH winning moment
The Indian men's kabaddi team clinched a gold medal at the Asian Games 2023 in Hangzhou, China, after beating Iran 33-29 in controversial final on Saturday.
In a dramatic and controversial final, the Indian men's kabaddi team secured victory against defending champions Iran, reclaiming their Asian Games title with a gold-winning score of 33-29 in Hangzhou, China, on Saturday. The intense match was temporarily suspended due to disputes and confusion.
The men's summit clash saw an intense battle with both teams locked at 28-28 and just over a minute left on the clock. However, the final minute was marred by controversy. Indian skipper Pawan Sehrawat attempted a do-or-die raid, which led to confusion. Sehrawat entered the lobby (out of bounds) without making a touch, but Amirhossein Bastami and three other Iranian defenders rushed towards him in an attempt to push him out.
The confusion extended to the application of rules. The new rule indicated that Sehrawat was out, while the old rule deemed Sehrawat and all the Iranians who followed him to be out. This discrepancy meant that India could gain four points while Iran would receive just one.
With officials oscillating between rulings in favor of India and Iran, both teams staged a protest on the court in an unprecedented turn of events. After extensive deliberation and heated discussions, the match was ultimately ruled in favor of India, with a final score of 32-29.
The Indian men's kabaddi team, known for their dominance with seven consecutive gold medals at the continental showpiece, had faced a shocking semifinal defeat to Iran five years ago in Jakarta. In that match, Iran had initially taken a 10-6 lead, but India staged a thrilling comeback to lead 17-13 at halftime, executing two all-outs.
After the halftime break, Sehrawat contributed by securing a bonus point, while the Iranians faced difficulties. The Indian team surged to a five-point lead at 24-19. However, the defending champions executed a well-timed 'all-out' to level the game at 25-25 with ten minutes remaining on the clock.
Earlier today, the women's kabaddi team survived by the skin of its teeth as it beat Chinese Taipei 26-25 in a dramatic final for the country's 100th medal. This was India's third gold in women's kabaddi which was introduced in the 2010 Asian Games. India won gold in the 2010 and 2014 editions but settled for silver in 2018 after losing to Iran in the final.