With its third Kabaddi World Cup victory in as many tries, India reasserted what has been true since the ancient sport’s inception in the Asian subcontinent — “One Big Blue” is the undisputed King of Kabaddi.
India came back from a surprising first half deficit to dramatically defeat Iran 38-29 in front of a partisan crowd in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The final was a rematch of sorts from the first two World Cups — held in 2004 and 2007 — when India also prevailed over Iran.
Captained by 32-year-old Anup Kumar, a Deputy Commissioner of Police from the state of Haryana, India bested a field which included teams from Japan, South Korea, Australia, Kenya, Iran, England, USA, Thailand, Bangladesh and Argentina.
MAN OF THE MATCH: AJAY THAKUR
India’s dramatic second-half comeback was led by Ajay Thakur, who scored 12 of his team’s 38 total points, including a tide-turning point to tie the game at 20-20 in the 29th minute.
In addition to its flawless record in the standard-style Kabaddi World Cup, India has won all five circle-style Kabaddi World Cups and every iteration of the sport contested at the Asian Games since 1990 (for a total of seven gold medals).