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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.

Fan card of Anup Kumar, captain of India's national kabaddi team

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.


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.

''Ajay told me in the morning that he’ll beat Iran single-handedly. And, as you all saw it, he did precisely that.''

— Manjeet Chhillar, on teammate Ajay Thakur

A photo posted by Someshwar Kalia (@skaalia) on

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).