A brilliant second-half performance saw India stage a memorable comeback as they beat Iran 38-29 in the title clash to lift the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup in Ahmedabad on Saturday night.

 

Riding on a terrific performance by Ajay Thakur’s 12 points, India produced a strong comeback at the TransStadia Arena to send the packed crowd into raptures.


The final was like a boxing bout as both teams -- considered kabaddi powerhouses -- traded punches and gave it as good as they got.

 

India struck the early blows as Sandeep Narwal and Thakur scored raid points to lead 2-0 in the third minute. Meraj Sheykh scored Iran’s first point as they levelled the game at 2-2 in the fourth minute.

 

Iran’s defence were up for it as they contained Pardeep Narwal effectively and then sent Thakur to the bench to lead 5-4 in the eighth minute.

 

The match lived up to its expectations as both teams fought hard and refused to give an inch. Skipper Anup Kumar scored his trademark bonus point to level the scores at 6-6 in the 10th minute. Meraj Sheykh scored with an excellent raid and reduced India to just three men as Iran led 9-7 in the 13th minute.

 

India’s defence had a below-par first 15 minutes as they scored just one tackle point. Iran reduced India to just two men but a brilliant super tackle by Mohit Chhillar the 16th minute to cut the lead to just one point again.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the accolades for the Indian kabaddi team after it triumphed in the 2016 World Cup, its third in a row, on the back of a memorable second-half fightback against Iran here today.

 

Congratulations to Indian team for winning the Kabaddi World Cup. The team showed exceptional skills, grit & determination. Well done!" PM Modi wrote on his twitter handle.

 

Sports Minister Vijay Goel expressed his delight with the achievement.

 

"And our tigers have done it. Victors. Congratulations @IamAnupK & team! #OneBigBlue," Goel said.

 

The sporting fraternity too joined in praising the winning team.

 

Olympic medallist boxer Vijender Singh wrote, " Congratulation team ???? #kabaddiworldcup2016 #IndVsIRN."

 

Cricketer Viremder Sehwag, "Yeh Jazba ,yeh Spirit ,Hamka De De Thakur. Ajay Thakur, you are a rockstar. Haar ke Jeetne waale ko Team India kehta hain.Champions,"

 

Suresh Raina wrote, "Congratulations #IndianKabaddiTeam for wonderful display of skills & winning eight World title.

 

Dhawal Kulkarni said, "World Champions at the Kabbadi Worldcup 2016..Well done team India..Made us proud @KabaddiIndia @ProKabaddi #2016KabaddiWorldCup."

 

Manoj Tiwary wrote, "What a proud feeling! Congratulations to the World Champions - Team India ???? #2016KabaddiWorldCup."

 

Ace off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said, "Wah mere shero buraaaah chaaa Gaye.. so proud of you.. love u all..???? Champions! #INDvIRN #kabaddiworldcup2016. We are proud of u."

 

Shikhar Dhawan said, "What a turnaround, had me glued throughout. Ajay Thakur, YOU BEAUTY!! Congratulations #IndianKabaddiTeam, #Champions of @KabaddiWorldCup '16."

 

Another India cricketer Gautam Gambhir wrote, "Many congratulations to the Indian Kabaddi Team on another World Cup win! A nation watched on as you defined domination in the sport."

 

Stylish batsman VVS Laxman said, "Congratulations Indian Kabaddi team for winning the #kabaddiworldcup2016 ??Gr8 team effort??You made us proud. Keep it up."

 

Sreesanth said, "Well done India..congrats for winning the kabaddi World Cup..great team effort..proud moment for all Indians

 

Shuttler Gutta Jwala sdaid, "#TeamIndia #2016KabaddiWorldCup Wooohoooo champions 2016."

 

Actor Shah Rukh Khan said, "Kabaddi kabaddi kabaddi. We are home. Congratulations India. Third title on the trot! Well done Anup, Ajay & the whole team. Champions!"

 

Politician Rajeev Shukla wrote, "Congrats Indian Kabaddi Team for the World Cup win. Great achievement and proud moment for the country #kabaddiworldcup2016.