India fought off a tough challenge from Iran to win their third successive Kabaddi World Cup at the TransStadia Arena in Ahmedabad on Saturday.
In perhaps the most exciting match of this World Cup, the Indians overturned a first-half deficit with a superb second-half performance to win 38-29.
India have thus won all the three Kabaddi World Cups held so far. They have beaten Iran in the finals of all the three editions.
India had earlier clinched the 2004 and 2007 editions of the Kabaddi World Cup.
The experienced Ajay Thakur played a crucial role in India’s win with his raiding prowess. Thakur turned out be one of the most influential players in the match with a total of 12 points.
Thakur was adjudged the top raider of the World Cup with 64 points. He has notched up four Super 10s through out the tournament. A Super 10 is when a player scores 10 or more points in a match.
South Korea’s Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) star Jang Kun Lee was adjudged the most valuable player of the World Cup.
Iran enjoyed a stronger start and dominated the first half. But the Indians showed superb fighting spirit and aggression to pull off the win.
Thakur had started the revival early in the second session by claiming four consecutive raid points. His team-mates also showed excellent raiding and defending technique to edge out their opponents.
The near capacity crowd kept up a deafening wall of noise even before the match started and egged on the Indian players throughout the game.
“This is the best moment of my life,” Thakur said after the win as his teammates broke out into an energetic bout of bhangra all around the court.
“Kabaddi is India’s sport and we have managed to continue our domination. We will dance in the hotel all night.”
The Indians had faced a tough challenge from the Iranians in the Asian Games final a couple of years ago as well.